Nestling in the lush, rolling hills of Tuscany, with the Arno river and Ponte Vecchio at its centre, Florence is an idyllic city. Florentines gave us the Renaissance and the city is the very cradle of Western civilisation.
Yet within all this beauty, Florence has a violent past, from public executions to bloody wars. Forming part of this shocking violence is the story of the Monster of Florence.
Between 1974 and 1985, seven couples â€“ fourteen people in all â€“ were murdered while making love in parked cars in the beautiful hills surrounding Florence. The case became the longest and most expensive criminal investigation in Italian history. Close to a hundred thousand men were investigated and more than a dozen arrested, many of whom had to be released when the Monster struck again. Scores of lives were ruined by rumour and false accusations. The generation of Florentines who came of age during the killings say that it changed the city and their lives. There have been suicides, exhumations, alleged poisonings, body parts sent by post, sÃ©ances in graveyards, lawsuits, planting of false evidence, and vicious prosecutorial vendettas. The investigation has been like a malignancy, spreading backward in time and outward in space, metastasizing to different cities and swelling into new investigations, with new judges, police, and prosecutors, more suspects, more arrests, and many more lives ruined.
Despite the longest manhunt in modern Italian history, the Monster of Florence has never been found and, with the acquittal of the latest suspect in May 2008, the case is still unsolved.
In The Monster of Florence, Mario and I track down and interview a man we have strong reasons to believe may be the Monster himself. At the end of the interview, we asked him, “Are you the Monster of Florence?”
We’d be curious to hear from readers their thoughts on the following questions:
Do you think our suspect is the Monster? Why or why not?
If not, is there another person in the book you think may be the Monster?
And finally, do you think the case will ever be solved?