The monster of Florence has become a legendary tale that bore its ugly head around summertime all over Italy from the latter part of the sixties until the mid eighties. The story has enticed numerous travel writers to rent apartments in Florence in search of new material. The most famous of these was the author Thomas Harris of Silence of the Lambs fame. He was so inspired by a trial he attended and by the mystery in general that he based the sequel Hannibal in Florence.
The serial killer that has been tagged the Monster of Florence is believed to have begun his killing spree in the summer of 1968, when a young couple that were carrying out an adulterous relationship, were killed while parked in a car in the outlying Florence countryside while the woman’s son lay sleeping in the back of the car. The woman’s husband was subsequently jailed for the crime although he was later found innocent.
The next murder was carried out in 1981 in a similar rural beauty spot and involved the killing of a young couple using the same Beretta .22 pistol that had been used in the 1968 killing. Ballistic experts traced the ammunition as Winchester bullets that had been bought in Australia in the 1950’s.
From this point on, the killings occurred every year until 1985 and all followed the same pattern bar one. The killer targeted courting couples that were parked in quiet lanes around rural Florence. The only time that there was a marked difference in the pattern of killing was when two German tourists were killed in their van that was parked in a country lane. Police commented that the killer may have mistaken one of the men for a woman on account of his long hair.
Various trials have been carried out in search of the killer with countless people being taken into custody and investigated. While two men (Mario Vanni and Giancarlo Lotti) remain incarcerated for the crimes committed in rural Florence there still remains a great air of mystery surrounding the story.