It would have to be one of the most macabre sites in the world. More at home in Draculas castle or a Nazi concentration camp rather than a Christian church.
The Convento dei Frati Cappuccini has 5 crypts which contain the bones of long gone friars and other Romans - and they have been arranged artistically. There's the skull room, the pelvis room and the room where all the thigh and leg bones await.
Admission is by donation and the church and the crypt are but a stones throw - or is that bone throw - from the Barbarini Metro station.
Note that the crypt is closed for "siesta" from noon to 3 pm - even the bones need a break.
The photo I've posted is not one of my better photos, however there is an unofficial web site where most of the crypts have been photographed. http://www3.sympatico.ca/tapholov/pages/bones.html Below is the official web site of the Capuchin friars. Interesting side note for the next time you have a coffee - the name of the drink "cappuccino" is derived from the brown hood that the order of friars wear.
In the basement of the Santa Maria della Concezioni is the Capuchin Crypt. It is said that this order of Catholic monks paid tribute to their deceased brothers by preserving their bones. They have arranged thousands of bones onto the walls and ceilings of the crypt and even made lampshades from them. The name "Cappuchino" is said to have come from the color of the monks robes. One of the more macabre sights in Rome. One is not suppose to take pictures in the crypt and donations are accepted for entrance.
When the Cappuchi Monks moved into a new monestary they didn't want to leave behind their dead brothers who were buried in the back yard, so they decorated the new church with their bones. This is supposed to be a reminder that we all die someday. In fact, in the rear of the church, there is a scene where 3 monks are suspended in their robes looking down at words spelled out in finger bones. When translated, it reads,"What you are now, we used to be; what we are now, soon you will be." A little morbid, but definately worth seeing.
FACT: The Cappuchi monks wore brown robes and white hats. Locals used to joke that they looked like their morning coffee, so they started calling their coffee, "little cappuchi". In Italian, it's cappuchino.
The Cappucin convent in Rome contains crypt that is, to say the least, an unusual place to visit. It contains the bones of a few thousand people, some skeletons are whole, others are taken part and piled up or used as decorations on the walls. It is quite an interesting, and eeire site.
When I was there, photography was not allowed, so I could only get a postcard.
I know we have all thought about using our dead friends bones to spice up our house decorations, I mean who hasn't, right? Well, the Capuchin monks at the Santa Maria della Concezione Church, located on Via Veneto near Barbarini Square, sure took that idea and ran with it. Every ornament in this place is made out of dead Capucin monks. Their bones were nailed to the wall and arranged in all kinds of patterns. Some form objects like the clock composed of vertebrae, foot bones and finger bones. Now why didn't I think of that!?!
Entrance is by donation and the door is guarded by a soon-to-be-a-lamp Capuchin monk.
It is open 9am to noon and 3pm-6pm from May to October
Super creepy, but super cool.
Oh, they don't allow photos... I just used the stupid tourist excuse for this one...
The Cappucin Crypt (yes that is where "cappucino" comes from) is where the Cappucin monks "buried" their dead. I say "buried" because, a better word might be "stored" or "kept." Its basically a series of rooms that are absolutely covered in bones. They used bones to make the chandeliers, make clock on the ceiling, skulls and shoulderblades to make putti etc. Plus there's a few in-tact skeletons wearing their robes just kickin it. If you are morbid like me, you will love this.
The Cappuchin Church, near the American Embassy and the (shudder) Hard Rock Cafe. Please note that I did not take this picture; it is a postcard sold at the church. Photos are not allowed, as it would supposedly disturb the religious sanctity of the site. But gouging tourists for postcards wouldn't?! Whatever. Anyway, this is a very moving, very macabre church whose walls are ornamented entirely with the bones of deceased friars. It will inspire a lot of thought about life and death.