Alfredo Salafia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alfredo Salafia
Salafia in c. 1910
BornNovember 7, 1869
DiedJanuary 31, 1933 (aged 63)
Occupation(s)Embalmer and taxidermist

Alfredo Salafia (November 7, 1869 – January 31, 1933) was a Sicilian embalmer and taxidermist of the 1900s.

In December 1920, he embalmed a little girl, Rosalia Lombardo, in Palermo, Sicily at her father's request. She currently lies in a glass topped, sealed coffin in Palermo's Capuchin friary catacombs (Catacombe dei Cappuccini), and is available for public viewing as one of the best preserved bodies there. The formula Salafia used to embalm her, found in his handwritten memoirs, involved injecting the body with a solution of formalin, zinc salts, alcohol, salicylic acid, and glycerin.[1]


Rosalia Lombardo's body as it appears today.

The mummification techniques used by Salafia were discovered in 2007 in his handwritten memoir. He injected the cadaver with a fluid made of formalin to kill bacteria, alcohol to dry the body, glycerin to keep her from overdrying, salicylic acid to kill fungi, and zinc salts to give her body rigidity.[1][2][3] Accordingly, the formula's composition is "one part glycerin, one part formalin saturated with both zinc sulfate and chloride, and one part of an alcohol solution saturated with salicylic acid."


  1. ^ a b Lange, Karen. "Lost "Sleeping Beauty" Mummy Formula Found". Archived from the original on January 29, 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  2. ^ Franz, Angelika (11 May 2009). "Einbalsamierung: Forscher lösen Rätsel der makellosen Mumie – Nachrichten – Wissenschaft". Der Spiegel. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  3. ^ Piombino-Mascali D, Aufderheide AC, Johnson-Williams M, Zink AR (March 2009). "The Salafia method rediscovered". Virchows Arch. 454 (3): 355–57. doi:10.1007/s00428-009-0738-6. PMID 19205728. S2CID 26848891.