Italicus Express bombing 1974

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Italicus Express massacre
1974 Italicus Express bombing - Memorial 03.jpg
Memorial (Plaque)
Location San Benedetto Val di Sambro
Coordinates 44°12′29″N 11°11′23″E / 44.20806°N 11.18972°E / 44.20806; 11.18972Coordinates: 44°12′29″N 11°11′23″E / 44.20806°N 11.18972°E / 44.20806; 11.18972
Date 4 August 1974
01:23 (UTC+1)
Target Strategy of tension, support far-right terrorist groups in order to spread panic among population and create the demand for a "strong" government
Attack type
Bomb attack
Deaths 12
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrators Members of Ordine Nero

The Italicus Express massacre (Italian: Strage del treno Italicus) was a terrorist bombing in Italy on a train of the public rail network. During the early hours of 4 August 1974, the bomb attack killed 12 people and wounded 48. Responsibility was claimed by the neo-fascist terrorist organization Ordine Nero.[1][2][3][4][5]


The Italicus Express was a night train of the Ferrovie dello Stato on which, during the early hours of 4 August 1974, a bomb exploded killing 12 people and injuring 48. The train was travelling from Rome to Munich on the Bologna–Florence railway line.[1][2] The bomb had been placed in the 5th passenger car of the train and exploded at 01:23. The explosion would have been even stronger if the train had exploded inside San Benedetto Val di Sambro tunnel. Former Prime Minister of Italy Aldo Moro was on the same train on 3 August, but disembarked before the explosion.[3][4][5]

List of victims[edit]

  • Elena Donatini
  • Nicola Buffi
  • Herbert Kotriner
  • Nunzio Russo
  • Maria Santina Carraro
  • Marco Russo
  • Tsugufumi Fukada
  • Antidio Medaglia
  • Elena Celli
  • Raffaella Garosi
  • Wìlhelmus Jacobus Hanema
  • Silver Sirotti

Claim of responsibility[edit]

The following day, the fascist terrorist group Ordine Nero (Black Order) issued a statement in these terms:

"We took revenge for Giancarlo Esposti. We wanted to show the nation that we can place a bomb anywhere we want, whenever and however we please. Let us see in autumn; we will drown democracy under a mountain of dead."

Giancarlo Esposti was killed on 30 May 1974 according to Novopress.[6] This was two days after the Piazza della Loggia bombing.


Italicus Express massacre. Memorial in the San Benedetto Val di Sambro railway station.

Aurelio Fianchini, a leftist militant having just escaped from prison, told the press that the bomb was placed in the Italicus Express by Mario Tuti's subversive commando formed by Piero Malentacchi, who effectively placed the explosive in the fifth passenger car of the Italicus Express at the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station, Luciano Franci and Margherita Luddi. They received the order from the Italian fascist terrorist organizations Fronte Nazionale Rivoluzionario ("revolutionary national front") and Ordine Nuovo.[3]

At the time, police and intelligence knew that Mario Tuti was a subversive. A few months after the Italicus bombing, a woman denounced to judge Mario Marsili—son-in-law of Licio Gelli of the Masonic lodge Propaganda Due—that the author of the massacre was Mario Tuti. The charge was filed soon by the magistrate and the woman was interned in a mental hospital as a mythomaniac.[3]


On 24 January 1975, Mario Tuti escaped from arrest by killing police sergeant Leonardo Falco and corporal Giovanni Ceravolo, and seriously injuring corporal Arturo Rocca. He fled to France in Ajaccio, Corsica, and then relocated to the French Riviera.[7] On 16 May 1975, he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia, which was confirmed on 30 November 1976 in the final sentence.[7] On 27 July, Tuti was arrested by French police after a bloody confrontation in Saint-Raphaël, and was extradited to Italy for trial.[3][7]

Tuti was sentenced to a 20-year prison term for two bomb attacks which occurred respectively on 31 December 1974 and in January 1975, illegal possession of explosives and firearms, and for promoting and organizing the reconstruction of the Fascist Party.

Main stages of the Italicus massacre's trial:

  • 20 July 1983: Luciano Franci, Piero Malentacchi, Margherita Luddi and Mario Tuti are acquitted for lack of evidence; Francesco Sgrò (janitor at the University of Rome) is convicted of slander.
  • 18 December 1986: Franci and Tuti are sentenced to life imprisonment; Piero Malentacchi and Margherita Luddi are acquitted for lack of evidence; Francesco Sgrò is again convicted of slander.
  • 16 December 1987: the Court of Cassation declared the appeal process must be redone.
  • 4 April 1991: Luciano Franci and Mario Tuti are acquitted for lack of evidence; Piero Malentacchi and Margherita Luddi are acquitted at the request of the Public Prosecutor.
  • 24 March 1992: the final judgment of the Court of Cassation confirms the acquittals of Franci and Tuti.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Charles Richards (1 December 1990). "Gladio is still opening wounds" (PHP). Independent: 12. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Ed Vulliamy (4 March 2007). "Blood and glory" (XHTML). The Observer. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Bocca, Giorgio. Gli anni del terrorismo (in Italian). pp. 291–293. 
  4. ^ a b Fasanella, Giovanni; Antonella Grippo (2006). I Silenzi degli Innocenti (in Italian). BUR. p. 114. 
  5. ^ a b Moro, Maria Fida (2004). La Nebulosa del Caso Moro (in Italian). Milan, Italy: Selene. 
  6. ^ "30 Maggio: Giancarlo Esposti Presente!" [30 May: Giancarlo Esposti Presente!] (XHTML). In memoriam (in Italian). Paris, France: Novopress. 30 May 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
    Google translation into English: 30 May: Giancarlo Esposti Presente!
  7. ^ a b c "Mario Tuti in semilibertà fuori dal carcere l'ex terrorista". Cronaca (in Italian). 21 February 2004. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
    Google translation into English: Google Translate