In Roman Catholic faith, it was at one time believed that holy people would not decompose after death. Instead their bodies would remain intact through completely “natural” means—aka their holiness of spirit. They were dubbed saints, and have been titled the “incorruptible.” They are displayed so that visitors may worship them.
While many of the bodies are indeed perfect in near-perfect condition—they are displayed in peaceful rest, and look like porcelain dolls—in most cases it is actually because the corpses have been encased in silver and wax. These bodies were laid to rest hundreds of years ago, but most of them look as though they are simply caught in a moment of slumber.
The saints in these photos can be found on display in churches across Italy.
See the haunting photos of the ‘Incorruptible’ Saints of Italy in the slideshow above.