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Photos: See the images of the body of some saints on display in different parts of Italy
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Photos: See the images of the body of some saints on display in different parts of Italy

Ezinne Osuagwu

These haunting images capture the eerily ‘incorruptible’ bodies of saints whose remains are displayed around Italy.

While some are mere fragmented bones, other corpses appear staggeringly well-preserved despite dying hundreds of years ago.

The saints supposedly belong to the world of the incorrupt – a Roman Catholic belief that Divine Intervention allows some humans to avoid decomposition after death as a sign of their holiness.

The Church no longer counts incorruptibility as a miracle but sees it more like a favourable, if fading, sign from God.

Photos: See the images of the body of some saints on display in different parts of Italy
The ‘incorrupt’ body of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi is displayed in the San Crisogono church in Rome

Incorruptible bodies are often said to have the odour of sanctity, exuding a sweet or floral, pleasant aroma.

To qualify as incorruptible, traditional belief dictates that the body should not have been embalmed or mummified to achieve preservation but should remain in tact naturally.

Despite this, many of the saints have been preserved through other accepted methods since being taken from their original resting places – and many are encased in wax, silver or bathed in carbolic acid.

Photos: See the images of the body of some saints on display in different parts of Italy
The ‘incorrupt’ body of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi is displayed in the San Crisogono church in Rome
Photos: See the images of the body of some saints on display in different parts of Italy
The ‘incorrupt’ St Camillus de Lellis
Photos: See the images of the body of some saints on display in different parts of Italy
The incorrupt body of St Pope Pius V, who died in 1572,
Photos: See the images of the body of some saints on display in different parts of Italy
The incorrupt but now skeletal body of St Francesca Romana, also called Santa Maria Nova. Francesca was deemed incorrupt a few months after her death in 1440