The Crypt of the Three Skeletons. Two small skeletons of children rest on the back wall,
each holding a skull with wings made from shoulder blades. The third skeleton,
impressed into the ceiling, is surrounded by a halo. It holds a scythe, the symbol of death
which cuts down all like grass in a field, and a pair of scales, representing God's judgment.
One of the most interesting and bizarre sights of Rome is the Cimitero dei Cappuccini (Cemetery of the Capuchins) at the Church of the Immaculate. In 1631, when the Capuchin friars (so-called because of the capuche or hood attached to their habits) moved from a friary elsewhere to the church, they brought with them the remains of deceased friars. They also buried the bodies of poor Romans under the church. In 1793, some of the monks decided to use the thousands of bones to decorate five crypts. This practice continued till 1870, with the rather macabre result that these chapels are filled not only with the partly-mummified bodies of friars in their stained habits, but crosses, geometric patterns and even hanging lanterns made of human bones. The crypts are intended as a memento mori (reminder of mortality); as a plaque in the Crypt of the Three Skeletons reads: "What you are now we once were; what we are now you will be".