Monster of Florence
||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (April 2010)|
- Il Mostro redirects here. For the 2008 book, see The Monster of Florence. For the 1994 Roberto Benigni film, see The Monster (1994 film). For the 1977 Italian film, see Il mostro (1977 film).
|The Monster of Florence|
|Other names||Il Mostro (The Monster)|
Span of killings
|August 21, 1968–September 7–8, 1985|
The Monster of Florence, also known as Il Mostro, is an epithet commonly used for the perpetrator, or perpetrators, of 16 murders, nearly all of couples, that took place between 1968 and 1985 in the province of Florence, Italy. The same gun and pattern were used in all the murders.
Four local men – Stefano Mele, Pietro Pacciani, Mario Vanni, and Giancarlo Lotti – were arrested, charged, and convicted of the crime at different times. However, these convictions have been criticized and ridiculed in the media; critics suggest that the real killer or killers have never been identified. Several other suspects were arrested and held in captivity at various times, but they were later released when subsequent murders using the same weapon and methods cast doubt on the guilt of the suspects held in captivity.
The English author Magdalen Nabb wrote the 1996 novel The Monster of Florence based on her extensive research and documents from the actual case. Although the book is a work of fiction, Nabb states that the investigation in the novel was real and the presentation as fiction was a protective measure. In their 2008 non-fiction book The Monster of Florence, Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi suggested the same perpetrator as Nabb had identified: Antonio Vinci (the nephew and son of two Sardinian brothers each suspected of being the Monster) is a likely candidate for being the real killer. Vinci denied this in a Dateline NBC interview with Stone Phillips.
- August 21, 1968: Antonio Lo Bianco (29) and Barbara Locci (32), lovers, shot to death with a .22 Beretta in Signa, a small town to the west of Florence, while Locci's son Natalino Mele (6) lay asleep in the back seat of the car. The child woke up and, finding his mother dead, fled in fright. At 2 a.m. he arrived in front of a house nearby and knocked on the door, telling the landlord: "Open the door and let me in, I'm sleepy and my Daddy is sick in bed. Then you have to drive me home, because my Mommy and my uncle are dead in their car." Natalino initially said he had run away alone, then changed his story and stated that his father – or maybe an uncle of his, as he used to call his mother's lovers "uncle" – had driven him to the house where he asked for help. Years later he said again that he was alone, but was too shocked to remember exactly what happened on that night. Locci was famous in the town because of her multiple love affairs, and so she had received the nickname Ape Regina (queen bee). Locci's husband, an ingenuous man named Stefano Mele, was eventually charged with the murder and spent six years in jail, but even while he was in prison, more couples were murdered with the same gun.
- September 15, 1974: Pasquale Gentilcore, barman (19), and Stefania Pettini, accountant (18), teenage sweethearts, were shot to death and stabbed in a country lane near Borgo San Lorenzo while having sex in Gentilcore's Fiat 127 not far from a notorious disco called Teen Club where they were supposed to spend the evening with some friends. Pettini's corpse had been violated with a grapevine stalk and disfigured with 97 stab-wounds. Some hours before the murder, Pettini said something to a close friend about a weird man that terrified her.
- June 6, 1981: Giovanni Foggi, warehouseman (30), and Carmela Di Nuccio, shop assistant (21), engaged. Shot to death and stabbed on a Saturday night, near Scandicci, where they both lived. Di Nuccio's body was pulled out of the car and the killer cut out her pubic area with a notched knife. The next morning, a young voyeur, Enzo Spalletti, went around speaking about the murder before the corpses had been discovered. He spent three months in jail, charged with murder, before the killer exonerated him by killing again.
- October 23, 1981: Stefano Baldi, workman (26), and Susanna Cambi, telephonist (24), engaged and due to be married in a few months' time. Shot to death and stabbed in a park in the vicinity of Calenzano. Cambi's pubic area was cut out like Di Nuccio's. An anonymous person phoned Cambi's mother the morning after the murder, to "talk to her about her daughter". A few days before the homicide, Susanna told her mother that there was somebody tormenting her.
- June 19, 1982: Paolo Mainardi, mechanician (22), and Antonella Migliorini, Dressmaker (20), engaged and due to marry very soon, nicknamed Vinavil (a brand of superglue) as they were inseparable. Shot to death in Mainardi's car while parked on a country road in Montespertoli. This time the killer did not mutilate the female victim. Mainardi (although he had serious injuries) was still alive when found. Police and ambulances were called immediately but Mainardi died some hours later at the hospital. A new reconstruction of the events suggests that, after shooting the couple, the Monster drove Paolo's car for few meters. Then he lost control of the car and he abandoned it where it was finally discovered.
- September 9, 1983: Horst Wilhelm Meyer (24) and Jens Uwe Rüsch (24), German tourists. Shot to death in their Volkswagen Samba Bus, in Galluzzo. Rüsch's long blond hair and his small build could have deceived the killer into thinking he was a female. Police suspected that they were gay lovers, but this theory has never been corroborated.
- July 29, 1984: Claudio Stefanacci, student (21), and Pia Gilda Rontini, barmaid and cheerleader (18), sweethearts, shot to death and stabbed in Stefanacci's Fiat Panda parked in a woodland area near Vicchio di Mugello. The killer removed the girl's pubic area and left breast. There were reports of a strange man who had been following them in an ice cream parlour some hours before the murder. A close friend of Pia Rontini recalled she had confided that she had been bothered by "an unpleasant man" while working at the bar.
- September 7–8, 1985: Jean Michel Kraveichvili, musician (25), and Nadine Mauriot, tradeswoman (36), lovers, both from Audincourt, France, on a camping vacation in Italy. Nadine was shot to death and stabbed while sleeping in their small tent in a woodland area near San Casciano. Jean Michel was killed a short distance away from the tent while trying to escape. Nadine's corpse was mutilated. Because the killer had murdered two traveling foreigners, there was not yet a missing persons report. The killer sent a taunting note, along with a piece of Nadine's breast, to the state prosecutor, Silvia della Monica, stating that a murder had taken place and challenging local authorities to find the victims. A person hunting mushrooms in the area discovered the bodies of Mauriot and Kraveichvili a few hours before the letter arrived on the prosecutor's desk.
Books and movies
In 1986, a movie was produced by the Italian film director Cesare Ferrario based on the original book of Mario Spezi, The Monster of Florence (1983).
The 1996 book The Monster Of Florence by Magdalen Nabb doubted Pacciani as Il Mostro and was based on actual and extensive case documents.
The 2001 film Hannibal used the Il Monstro case as the basis for a sub-plot of the scenes set in Florence. In the film, Il Monstro is a janitor at the Palazzo Vecchio; the killer witnesses Hanninal (Anthony Hopkins) murdering Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) before fleeing the city. All sequences relating to Il Monstro were dropped from the film before its release, but were available for viewing on the DVD.
The 2008 book The Monster of Florence: A True Story by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi casts doubts on the culpability of Pacciani as Il Mostro. Writer/producer Christopher McQuarrie has purchased the screen rights to the book.
The 2011 e-book The True Stories of the Monster Of Florence by Jacopo Pezzan and Giacomo Brunoro (April 2011) gives a detailed account of all the murders and the different investigative theories.
- Lohr, David. "The Monster of Florence". Crime Library. p. 10.
- Preston, Douglas; Spezi, Mario (2008). The Monster of Florence. Grand Central. p. 5. ISBN 0-446-58119-4.
- Preston, Douglas; Spezi, Mario (2008). The Monster of Florence. Grand Central. p. 305. ISBN 0-446-58119-4.
- Magdalen Nabb had provided Mario Spezi with information
- Pezzan, Jacopo; Brunoro, Giacomo (2011). The True Stories Of The Monster Of Florence. LA CASE ISBN 978-88-905896-9-0
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Monster of Florence.|
- The Monster of Florence - a detailed and accurate account of all the facts and theories behind the case
- The Monster of Florence at Crime Library
- "The Monster of Florence", TIME
- A shorter account on Douglas Preston's narrative can be found here: "The Monster of Florence", The Atlantic
- A Map of the murders can be found here: 
- 2004 interview with the author Magdalen Nabb here:  detailing her research on the case and Mario Spezi