If you’ve read or watched me before you’ll know that I love to travel and also have a fascination with strange cultural traditions and religious practices.  Rosalia Lombardo introduced me to a whole world of morbid and strange traditions that result in the preservation of bodies for various purposes.

You see, Rosalia is a two year old little girl who is also a nearly 100 year old mummy.  She is best known for her stunning beauty and sleep-like appearance which has given her the nick name Sleeping Beauty.  The strangest part about her though, is that she was purposely mummified by her grieving father to be placed in the Capuchin Catacombs and displayed for all eternity.

Going to see Rosalia was my first experience walking amongst the dead- literally.  But what’s interesting about these dead, is they desired to be walked amongst.  To them, being displayed in this manner allowed them to spend time with their loved ones, be held at high esteem and have an immortal connection to the living.

I’ve done an entire piece on Rosalia and the  Capuchin Catacombs already and you can read that here.

You can also watch my video about the catacombs here.

But, today, I want to talk about Rosalia Lombardo’s sister whose name also happens to be Rosalia Lombardo.  Why? Because a lot of you have asked if I know anything about her.

The truth is, not many people do.

What We Know

Rosalia Lombardo’s sister was born in 1925, but Rosalia (the first one) died in 1920. Obviously, Rosalia (1925) was named in honor of her deceased sister.  From the time Rosalia was little her parents reportedly took her to visit her sister in her glass casket amongst the other residents of the catacombs.  They would sit with her and visit for sometimes hours.  She is said to have continued those visits on her own coming to the catacombs in Palermo every day from Rome.

This particular account is impossible as in our modern age, it takes over ten hours to drive or an hour to fly from Rome to Palermo.  But, it’s a sort of romantic story isn’t it?  A love so strong that the sister that bears the deceased’s name travels hours every day….

Another, more realistic accounts say that Rosalia went and visited her deceased sister every other weekend from Rome and not only created a bond with her, but with the monks who resided there.

Either way, we know Rosalia was loyal and full of love for her sister whom she never got the chance to meet.

What We Think We Know

Besides, this information, the only other thing we have heard rumors on regarding Rosalia’s sister, is a supposed letter written by her in July of 2011, after National Geographic took pictures of Rosalia (the mummy). This is what it said.

“Dear Sirs, respectable authorities, my name is Rosalia Lombardo, I was born in Gaeta, on September 15, 1925, and i’m sister of Rosalia Lombardo, the famed mummy now kept at the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo.
I have the honor, with this letter, to bring to your attention some facts that, in my humble opinion, are incredible and have deeply touched my sensibilities as a sister of the departed.
Every day I see on different television channels and on every public and private networks, people discussing about my sister with references to events and situations, nothing short of “surreal” and also means using petty, but to audiences, which includes the implementation in wave picture of my deceased parents and my daughter Rosanna La Ferla and this systematically happens without due authorization.To all this I would add that the last time I saw my sister, in 2007, her body looked wonderful, the color of her skin was worthy the reputation that made her famous throughout the world.Unfortunately I have to point out that one day I’ve found out that the creature who seemed asleep for so long, now seems another person: she has different hairs, her eyes are now half open and the beautiful color of her skin has become strange … it seems tarnished!

And you want to know how did all this happen? Want to know who has irreparably ruined my little sister? I know, and when I tried, through my lawyers, to obtain justice on the whole story, have been ignored, threatened, and “invited” to shut up!

But since I have only a few years of life, considering my old age, me and my daughter Rosanna are not afraid of anyone and we have nothing to fear and we want to say the “whole truth” on this sorrowful event that “all”, including institutions, covered up until now.

Sending you all the echo of my pain because i hope to open a gate to the possibility that my sister can return that creature that has been admired from all over the world, and not a victim of poor body experiments that have irreparably compromised her body.
Please, listen to me and to my daughter Rosanna in sign of respect for my family and for little Rosalia!
Thanks for your attention. “

If the letter was truthfully written by the sister, it indicates that she blames National Geographic for ruining her sister’s body by exposing it to air. 

Other records do seem to back this up, but they’re hard to verify.  One official-looking document from 2012, seemed to indicate that Rosalia filed an official complaint against National Geographic with the country.  That same report said that since Rosalia was property of Italy, and was not technically “owned” by her sister, it was unclear what would come of the complaint or if anything would be done.

Now, let me state again, those official-looking documents aren’t verified to be real, but they’re

the only clues I could find on the internet. 

Another thing to note, is that National Geographic supposedly got the right to research Rosalia BECAUSE she was decaying. Supposedly, the glass of her coffin had broken a few times in the past, and unskilled monks and resealed it, but the air that was being let in had begun to affect her preservation.  In 2009 National Geographic got the rights to come in and take pictures and X-Rays and study Rosalia before she was transferred into a new nitrogen chamber to keep her best preserved.  National Geographic has claimed that they never took the glass off of Rosalia or did anything else to damage her.

While I tried to research the genealogy of Rosalia Lombardo to see if she’s still alive (she would be 93) and if she had kids or grand kids that I could learn about, but I couldn’t find much.  Most of the Rosalia Lombardo’s I did find, were born in the 1800’s which was too early. So that’s pretty all we know about Rosalia Lombardo’s sister.

In essence, the only thing we know for sure is that Rosalia existed and that she loved her sister.  The rest is really just speculation at this point.

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