Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Lombardos in:
 • Cimitero dei Cappuccini
 • Palermo
 • Cittą Metropolitana di Palermo
 • Sicilia
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In

Changes are coming to Find A Grave. See a preview now.

Rosalia Lombardo
Birth: Dec. 13, 1918
Sicilia, Italy
Death: Dec. 6, 1920
Sicilia, Italy

Subject of Advanced Embalming. Rosalia Lombardo was an Italian child born in 1918 in Palermo, Sicily. She died on December 6 1920. It is thought that she died from a bronchial infection. Rosalia's father was so grieved upon her death that he approached Dr. Alfredo Salafia, a noted embalmer, to preserve her. She was one of the last corpses to be admitted to the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily. Thanks to Dr. Salafia's embalming techniques, the body has been well-preserved and appeared so lifelike that until recently, locals believed she must be a doll. X-rays of the body show that the organs are remarkably intact. The child appears as if she were only sleeping, hence receiving the name "Sleeping Beauty" . Rosalia Lombardo's body is kept in a small chapel at the end of the catacomb's tour and is encased in a glass covered coffin, placed on a marble pedestal. Aside from a flat and somewhat unnatural skin tone, Rosalia's body is remarkably well preserved. Many say she appears to be sleeping, and this may have been the case for some time after her death; however, it is quite obvious today she is deceased due to the discoloration that has become more pronounced since her death. The mummification techniques used by Dr. Alfredo Salafia, which allegedly involved a chemical injection process are still a mystery as Dr. Salafia never revealed this particular technique in his lifetime. It is difficult for many to believe that Dr. Salafia developed such a complex procedure or a Chemical compound entirely independent of other experts in the field of preservation. Methods for embalming are generally developed over time by experimentation guided by new understandings of anatomy and chemistry. If Dr. Salafia was not in communication with other preservation experts, and had in fact developed the method entirely independently he would likely have required multiple "subjects" to experiment on before achieving the quality seen with Rosalia Lombardo. It is more likely that he used methods which he learnt privately from other embalmers, and modified these methods with his own medical knowledge. There is also no evidence that he did not educate others before his death since chemically preserved corpses are not particularly rare. Recently, the formula was found from a handwritten memoir of Salafia's. The formula apparently consisted of formalin to kill bacteria, alcohol to dry the body, glycerin to keep her from overdrying, salicylic acid to kill fungi, and the most important ingredient, zinc salts to give the body rigidity. 
Cimitero dei Cappuccini
Cittą Metropolitana di Palermo
Sicilia, Italy
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: cahaden
Record added: Feb 01, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33440371
Rosalia Lombardo
Added by: cahaden
Rosalia Lombardo
Added by: cahaden
Rosalia Lombardo
Added by: Anonymous
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Alison
 Added: Aug. 21, 2017
Sleeping Beauty.
- Nella Jean
 Added: Aug. 14, 2017

- Erin
 Added: Aug. 5, 2017
There are 1,159 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.3 after 103 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service