"St Zita continued" Top 5 Page for this destination Italy Things to Do Tip by iandsmith

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St. Zita's examination fell to Gino Fornaciari from the University of Pisa.
Working in a small curtained-off area, the pathologist and his team carefully inspected Saint Zita's body, and then delicately threaded an endoscope into her chest and abdominal cavities. The gentle saint, it transpired, was no stranger to poor health. She was born with a congenital dislocation of the tibia and suffered later from tuberculosis and lead poisoning, a result, in all likelihood, of the lead she unwittingly ingested from the glazes on household pots. In addition, she must have frequently struggled for breath, thanks to anthracosis, a chronic disease of the lungs probably caused by exposure to the soot in medieval lamps. These maladies she stoically endured until she died. Still, Fornaciari could detect no trace of unguents or resins or incisions on her cadaver. Saint Zita was whole and complete, possessed of all her internal organs. "She is a very beautiful mummy," says Fornaciari, "perhaps the best mummy I know of among the saints."

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  • Updated May 26, 2003
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