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Rome Reports

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Empty tombs found in the Vatican

The rector at the Teutonic College led a prayer at 8:15 a.m. Rome time, which kicked off the work of a team of about 15 people.

Their mission was to verify whether these two tombs contain the remains of Emanuela Orlandi. She was a young woman who disappeared in 1983. Emanuela's relatives, including her brother Pietro, were among those present. 

The Orlandi family's lawyer indicated which tomb should be inspected. It had an angel holding the inscription “Rest in peace.” However, to avoid any misunderstanding, the Vatican prosecutor asked for the tomb next to it to be opened as well.

The sepulchres date back to the mid-19th century. They belong to two people of royalty, Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Princess Charlotte Federica of Mecklenburg.

This is important. It's a insulator from that time. It's not a modern material.

The first tomb took them to a 13x121-foot underground area where they found something completely unexpected. 


I have it.

One... lift it!

A sewer!

A sewer that is still in use.

The opening of the second tomb was easier. However, again the result was disappointing. There were no human remains. In theory they should be able to find bones to analyze the DNA. It is a process that can take 20-60 days. However, this case was closed in only three hours.

Now the family are asking for explanations. “Why during the last year there were people” whose indications “led them,” to these graves. 

The two princesses' families did not know their remains had been removed. Thus, the Vatican announced past documentation relating to the cemetery would be examined. This order will reveal if there had been any alterations in the restructurings that had taken place since the end of the 19th century.

The mystery of Emanuela Orlandi's remains an unsolved case.