As Halloween draws near, The Culture Trip takes a closer look at the spookiest places around the world to set the tone for the ghoulish holiday. Celebrate this day that remembers the dead and faithfully departed with a visit to the spookiest places in Rome.
The Museum and Crypt of the Capuchins is one of the eeriest sights in Rome. Comprised of a variety of chambers that house the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin monks that have been rethought into creative decorations: chandeliers are made up of arms and leg bones, skulls make up ornamental features. The bones are believed to have belonged to friars that lived between 1528 and 1870. The Order of Capuchin Friars is an offshoot of the Franciscans and value a primitive and solitary way of life. Certainly one of the oddities of Rome, this crypt is not meant to be a macabre sight but rather a testament to the transience of life. Fun fact: the name of popular coffee beverage “cappuccino” actually derives its name from the friars: the color of the espresso mixed with milk recalled the color of the Capuchin monks’ cloaks.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Museum of Criminology
This little known museum in Rome, opened in 1930, is operated by Italy’s federal Prison Administration. Although it showcases a number of incarceration and torture artifacts that can be difficult to stomach for some visitors, its goal is not to offer merely shock appeal but rather to shed light into the criminal justice system. In addition to illustrating ghastly punitive measures, the museum has a vast archive of photographs and documents that can be used as teaching tools for schools and institutions.
Santo Stefano Rotondo
Who knew a place as holy as a church could depict such gruesome scenes? The ancient basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo is the first church in Rome to be built in a circular plan, following suit with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The frescoes that line its walls portray 34 scenes of martyrdom painted in the 16th century by Mannerist artist Niccolò Circignani and Baroque etcher Antonio Tempesta. Commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII, the frescoes illustrate a number of unsightly torture methods, include an inscription explaining the scene, name the emperor who ordered the execution and feature a verse from the Bible.
Museum of Souls in Purgatory
Located within the Neo-Gothic Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio lying along the Tiber River, this tiny museum contains eerie objects that are said to have been singed by the hands of souls in purgatory. The notion of purgatory is one of the central facets of the Catholic faith and holds that souls who have not been adequately rependent for their sins must pay dues before being admitted into heaven. The artifacts on display, including bibles, tabletops and clothing, feature hands and fingerprints that some believe are deceased souls communicating with their living relatives to pray for them to move onwards from purgatory and into heaven.
Catacombs on the Appia Antica
A number of Christian catacombs lie along the ancient Via Appia, a route that enabled trade to flourish throughout the Roman Empire and which touts a lot of intriguing history. It was normal for early Christians to be buried enmass in underground necropoli, or catacombs, outside of the city walls in what was then the countryside of Rome. The Catacombs of San Callisto are an important landmark because they comprise the Crypt of the Popes, which contains the remains of nine popes buried between the 2nd and 4th centuries, while the Catacombs of San Sebastiano contain burial chambers that span three gallery levels and feature beautiful frescoes and stucco work.
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