Capuchin Crypt Rome Overview

The Capuchin Crypt in Rome is one of the most unique and fascinating sites. The crypt is entirely decorated with bones and skulls of more than 4,000 individuals. It is a series of chapels that are built underneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione Dei Cappuccin, which is also sometimes called the ‘Bone church of Rome’.

Although the city of Rome is dotted with many catholic sites, the Capuchin crypt is one of the most impressive and unique sites because it is entirely made out of bones. The bones and skulls of more than 4,000 capuchin individuals are arranged in a decorative manner, which is both spooky and impressive at the same time. The museum dedicated to the Capuchins and their missions around the globe provides a deep insight into their lives through different artefacts like manuscripts, vestments and reliquaries. Several paintings are also on display here, including the ‘St Francis in Meditation’ which was a work of the ‘Old Master Caravaggio’. 

The crypt is the main attraction here which is further divided into six different sections. The rooms are very dimly lit, taking the spooky factor a notch above. In one room, one can also find two severed mummified arms cross one another and upon closer inspection, one can notice that it forms Capuchin’s coat of arms. The Capuchins earned their names because of a hooded cap that they used to wear, apart from socks and a tunic. These figures are also placed inside the crypt to let people know how the Capuchins used to look back in the day.

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• There are six small chambers within the crypt, namely: crypt of the resurrection, crypt of the skulls, crypt of the leg bones and thigh bones, crypt of the pelvises, crypt of the three skeletons and lastly, the Mass Chapel.
• Get to learn about the history of the Capuchins who were a religious catholic sect from the 16th century.
•  The bones and skulls are decorated in creative motifs which might be a little spooky but a sight to behold nevertheless.
• There’s also a museum of the Capuchin order which offers an exhaustive history of the Capuchin brothers and their missions that they carried out across the world.
• A major highlight of the museum is the painting of Saint Francis in meditation which is attributed to none other than Caravaggio.

How To Reach

  • On foot: The capuchin crypt or the Bone of Church has situated just a 10-minute walk away from the Spanish steps.
  • By Metro: Metro Line A is considered to be the ideal metro line. Get off at the Barberini station and then from there, it is just a 2-minute walk to the church.
  • By bus: There are several public transport options available for the Capuchin crypt including bus numbers 52, 53, 61, 62, 63, 80, 116 and 175. All these buses have their stops nearby where you can walk to the crypt.

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Best Time To Visit

Spring is the best time to visit Rome and the capuchin crypt as well because the weather is usually perfect this time of the year. It is usually slightly warm but not too much and also, not many tourists flock to the legendary city of Rome during the Spring season.

When it comes to the Capuchin crypt, the gates open up at 10 AM in the morning and it is advisable to visit the crypt as early as possible. It is a very notable tourist attraction in Rome which could get a little crowded as the hours proceed.

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Other Essential Information

  • Since this is a very solemn place of reflection of worship, talking loudly or shouting is not only looked down upon but is also considered disrespectful to the ideology that this place carries. 
  • Just like all of Rome’s catholic churches, it is advisable to keep your clothing as modest as possible. One should refrain from wearing shorts or skirts above the knees, be it, men or women. Moreover, your shoulders should be covered as well. Hats must be removed as well because wearing gear like hats, caps, and sunglasses is considered to be disrespectful.
  • The crypt is not suitable for young children as the sights inside the crypt could be a little disturbing to them.
  • Photography inside the museum or the main crypt is strictly prohibited.

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Normal Timings:
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Normal Timings:
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Normal Timings:
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Point of Interest for Capuchin Crypt Rome
Visit the chapel

Visit the chapel

The crypt is probably the most important point of interest, even more than the paintings themselves. A group of capuchin monks decided to decorate the entire crypt with bones, which belong to 4,000 individuals of their religious brethren and they used bones as their artistic medium. They managed to create arches, columns, floral designs and hearts – entirely made up of leg bones, pelvises and skulls. It might be a little spooky but very imaginative and creative at the same time.

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The chambers

The chambers

There are six chambers inside the crypt dedicated to a particular set of bones like crypt of the skulls, crypt of the leg bones and thigh bones, crypt of the pelvises, crypt of the resurrection, crypt of the three skeletons and lastly, the Mass Chapel. All the chambers are dimly lit by candles, adding to the eerie feeling but at the end of the day, it brings a sense of authentication to the crypt. Don’t forget to check out the crypt of the three skeletons as it is home to robed capuchin figures holding a scythe in one hand. The mass chapel is the only place inside where you won’t find any bones. However, it does contain a relic and the tomb of the Papal Zouaves, defenders of the Church at the battle of Porta Pia.

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The Museum

The Museum

The museum inside the chapel is dedicated particularly to the history and devotion of the Capuchin order. The museum will enlighten you about the capuchin order, even if you know nothing about them. There are several artefacts on display here which showcase the lifestyle of the capuchins. The museum’s final room is dedicated to the biographical overviews of the living order members and the humanitarian works that they’re involved in.

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The gift shop

The gift shop

There’s also a gift shop situated inside the chapel where you can buy postcards, books and trinkets which you can buy for your friends and family members as souvenirs. Some of these products are customised with the theme of the crypt, which makes shopping here more interesting.

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