Below the Church of Santo Stefano in the peaceful landscape of Ferentillo, southern Umbria lies buried bodies preserved by a rare microfungus that attacked corpses and turned them into mummies.
The Church was built in the 15th century above an older church used as a burial ground from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Ferentillo’s mummies were originated from a completely natural phenomenon.
The presence in the cemetery excavated in the rock of microorganisms together with the particular ventilation of the premises has prevented the putrefaction of corpses.
For this reason in 1871 a Napoleonic edict forbade the inhabitants to be buried here.
Some of the mummies still have beards, teeth, and hairs.
Some of them are elderly people. There is also a Napoleonic soldier, a murderer with his victim, a mother with her child, two birds, the hunchback Severino and even two Chinese lovers pilgrims who died during their travel in Italy for cholera.
Images of the mummies of Ferentillo
Article originally published on Feb 13, 2013. Updated Mar 20, 2019