If you are ever among the millions of annual visitors to the beautiful Italian city of Florence, you will be spoiled for choice as to which of its historical sights, artistic treasures and timeless architectural delights to view. The equally captivating surrounding region of Tuscany, famous for its Chianti red wine, has more than its fair share of sightseeing attractions. A few miles northeast of the city, is a more modest monument, which very few people have cause to visit.
A short distance off a dirt track is a grey, weather-beaten headstone propped next to a wire fence surrounding a scruffy farm holding.
You would probably never find it unless you knew where to look, and yet the dark tale of which it is now part is every bit as extraordinary, macabre and mysterious as that of any Renaissance myth.
It is a true story that stretches back to the 1960s and possibly beyond — one which has seen a city gripped by fear, dozens arrested, a string of charges and convictions followed by embarrassing acquittals and pardons, and an ever-raging whirlpool of theories, rumors and conspiracies, which still divides Italians to this day.
To one of the few people who do regularly visit the spot, it is simply a place of mourning. For more than 37 years, a lady named Bruna Bonini has regularly placed fresh flowers at the gravestone of her daughter, Stefania Pettini, and the girl’s fiancé, Pasquale Gentilcore. At this spot in 1974, the young couple became the victims of a ghastly double murder, which shocked locals, baffled investigators, and began a series of crimes that remain unsolved to this day.
Their anonymous assailant has since grown in infamy, and the mystery he has created has all the horrific hallmarks and enduring intrigue of a modern-day Italian Jack the Ripper.
Most disturbingly of all, it’s just possible that he may still be at large …