Monster of Florence

At the crime scene of Pasquale Gentilcore and Stefania Pettini.
At the crime scene of Pasquale Gentilcore and Stefania Pettini.

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 them 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 their guilt.

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 that Nabb had identified: Antonio Vinci (the nephew and son of two Sardinian brothers each suspected of being the Monster) as 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) mason worker, recently immigrated from Sicily to Tuscany and Barbara Locci (32) homemaker, 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, immigrated from Sardinia, 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, about 20 years older than her, 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. Several lovers of Locci’s were suspected to be perpetrators of the crime and even Stefano Mele stated on several occasions that one of them had killed “my lady”, as he used to call Locci.

It is reported that the widow of Lo Bianco had complained with Locci’s relatives several days after the murders, saying: “Why such a bad thing had happened to my husband? Now I am alone and I have three children to grow up!” and she was answered by a brother of Mele’s that Locci had to die but they were very sorry that Lo Bianco was shot down as well. Another lover of Locci’s testified the woman was worried about a man that had threatened her with a gun and stated she even refused to date with him by saying: “They could shoot us down while making love inside your car”.

  • 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. Another friend of Pettini’s recalled that a strange man (perhaps a voyeur) had followed and bothered the two of them during a driving lesson, a few days before. Several couples of lovers who used to “park” in the same country area where Gentilcore and Pettini were murdered stated that particular area was frequented by voyeurs, a pair of them acting very oddly.

  • 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 (30) a paramedic, father of two young children, 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 and even chasing her by car.

  • 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 to hide the vehicle and the corpses in a woodland area nearby. Then he lost control of the car and he abandoned it where it was finally discovered.

  • September 9, 1983: Wilhelm Friedrich Horst Meyer (24) and Jens Uwe Rüsch (24), German, both seniors at faculty of Fine Arts in Osnabrück, traveling in Italy to celebrate an important scholarship Meyer had just won. 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, law 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, film and television

  • 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 giallo film L’assassino è ancora tra noi was also based on the case. Released in 1986, it was written and directed by Camillo Teti, and co-written by Giuliano Carnimeo and Ernesto Gastaldi.

  • 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 1999 novel Hannibal and 2001 film adaptation used the Il Mostro case as the basis for a sub-plot of the scenes set in Florence. In the novel, supporting antagonist Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi was professionally disgraced when he arrested the wrong man for the Il Mostro murders. In the film, Il Mostro is a janitor at the Palazzo Vecchio; the killer witnesses Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) murdering Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) before fleeing the city. All sequences relating to Il Mostro were dropped from the film before its release, but were available for viewing on the DVD release.

  • 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.

  • In 2009, a six-part television film, Il mostro di Firenze, was produced and broadcast by Fox Crime.

  • 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.

  • In the third season of Hannibal, Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is implied to have been Il Mostro.

  • In 2012, book “Delitto degli Scopetti – Giustizia mancata” written by Vieri Adriani (lawyer), Francesco Cappeletti and Salvatore Maugeri reanalyze the ascertaining facts about the crimes committed by the serial killer named the Monster of Florence. The book offers an extensive and a very well-researched information about the investigative errors and procedure gaps that led to missing justice. The detailed reconstruction and the presentation of the current modus procedendi of Justice in Italy bring the readers closer to the truth.



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