We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater

Why were two graves in the Vatican cemetery empty?

An anonymous tip led to a search of two tombs in the Vatican's Teutonic cemetery. It was to see if the remains of Emanuela Orlandi were there. She disappeared in 1983. The graves belonged to two royal princesses of the mid-19th century.

However, they found this unexpected surprise. 


I have it.

One... lift it!

A sewer!

A sewer that is still in use.

The other tomb turned out to be completely empty.

Surprised and disappointed, Emanuela's family says they will continue to look for her. They have been doing so for the last 36 years.

However, the opening of the tombs has brought up another question: where are the remains of the princesses? The Vatican has promised to investigate it.

It is most likely they were moved to another place after restructuring 50 years ago. This was because a new building for the Teutonic College was being constructed there. Additionally, the tombs of the two royal members are right next to its walls.

On the other hand, the Editorial Director for the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, Andrea Tornielli, says “The decision to open both tombs... is a sign of particular attention and human and Christian closeness to the Orlandi family. It is certainly not an admission by the Vatican of a possible involvement in the concealment of a corpse.”

Andrea Tornielli recalls the Vatican authorities accepted the request to open the tombs, although it did not have any basis and it was impossible for them to verify its reliability. In addition, at all times, an expert selected by the family of the disappeared girl controlled the process of opening the tombs.