Le mummie di Venzone
The first appearance of mummified corpses in the village of Venzone was recorded in 1647, where some corpses interred in special tombs inside St. Andrew’s church remained incorrupt since the Middle Ages. At that time, mummies were supposed to have several healing powers, and dehydrated corpses were used to prepare tonics and elixirs. These beliefs caused a very remunerative commerce in body parts which lasted well into the Modern Era. Venzone was a wealthy village, situated along the Roman via Julia Augusta that joined Northern Italy with the German lands, and became particularly prosper from the 12th Century onwards due to the increasing trades with the North. St. Andrew’s church was inaugurated with all due pomp and circumstance in 1338, and became suddenly famous because of the mummies: just after the construction of the church, some tombs were excavated into its floor in different areas to inhume the most affluent citizens of the village, as customary in medieval churches. In thirteen of those sepulchres, the corpses underwent a process of natural mummification that has not yet been discovered anywhere else.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Enrico Miniati, "Le mummie di Venzone", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, XV (2009), pp. 63-74