10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Interested in learning about some of the most notorious Italian serial killers? In this article, we’ll delve into the dark stories of individuals who left a lasting impact on Italian crime history.

From the twisted motives to the gruesome methods, let’s explore the lives and heinous acts of individuals who became infamous for their deeds during different periods in Italy.

Brace yourself for some of the most notorious serial killers who left an unsettling legacy within the annals of Italian true crime.

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10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Here is a list of some of the most notorious Italian serial killers.

1. Donato Bilancia

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Donato Bilancia was an Italian serial killer who murdered 17 people from October 1997 to April 1998 on the Italian Riviera. His victims, randomly chosen across Northern Italy, included nine women and eight men.

Bilancia was known for psychiatric issues, gambling addiction, and criminal history. He instilled fear among the local population using methods like strangulation, shooting, and stabbing.

He was given the nicknames Mostro della Liguria (“the Liguria Monster”) and L’assassino dei treni (“Killer on the trains”). He was arrested on May 6, 1998, after a witness identified his car. He confessed to all the murders and was sentenced to 13 terms of life imprisonment, with no possibility of release.

Donato Bilancia was apprehended by the police after ten days of surveillance. His arrest was based on matching DNA collected from cigarette butts and a coffee cup to the crime scenes. Identified by a witness, he confessed to all the murders, attributing them to feeling “possessed” by a disease.

Bilancia gained notoriety as one of Italy’s most infamous serial killers due to his numerous victims, varied methods, diverse targets, and elusive behavior. His case garnered significant media attention, inspiring books and documentaries.

Donato Bilancia died on December 17, 2020, in prison in Padua, from COVID-19.

2. Il Mostro di Firenze (“The Monster of Florence”)

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

The unidentified serial killer, known as the Il Mostro di Firenze (“The Monster of Florence”), claimed at least 16 lives, primarily young couples, in the rural areas near Florence, Italy, from 1968 to 1985.

Using a .22 caliber Beretta handgun and a knife, the killer shot, stabbed, and mutilated the genitals of female victims. Despite numerous arrests and trials, the case remains unsolved.

Renowned for the brutality and enigma of the crimes, the Monster of Florence stands as one of Italy’s most infamous serial killers. The media frenzy and public intrigue surrounding the case, along with its impact on popular culture, have spawned numerous books, movies, and TV shows, including Thomas Harris’ Hannibal.

The case is marked by allegations of corruption, judicial misconduct, false confessions, and ties to Satanic cults. Today, it remains Italy’s most notorious unsolved mystery.

3. Leonarda Cianciulli

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Leonarda Cianciulli was an Italian serial killer who took the lives of three women in 1939 and 1940. She gained the nickname “la Saponificatrice di Correggio” (“The Soap-maker of Correggio”) for turning her victims’ bodies into soap and teacakes (which she actually consumed and served to guests).

Cianciulli committed her crimes with the belief that human sacrifices would safeguard her son, who was set to join the army during World War II. Her arrest followed the suspicions of the sister of her final victim, leading to a 33-year prison sentence.

Earning notoriety for the gruesome nature of her crimes, the unusual motives, and the rarity of being a female serial killer, Leonarda Cianciulli stands among the most infamous Italian murderers. Her tale has served as inspiration for books, films, and even a musical.

In 1970, Cianciulli passed away in the women’s criminal asylum in Pozzuoli, Italy.

4. Maurizio Minghella

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Maurizio Minghella, an Italian serial murderer, committed the killings of 15 women, predominantly sex workers, in Genoa and Turin from 1978 to 2001. Additionally, he faced convictions for robbery, kidnapping, prison escape, and engaging in acts of sodomy and necrophilia.

Minghella gained notoriety as one of Italy’s most infamous serial killers due to the severity and frequency of his crimes. His efforts to deceive the police included leaving misleading clues and messages at crime scenes. Dubbed the “Travolta of Val Polcevera” for his love of disco music and womanizing tendencies, he asserted that his troubled past involved abuse by his stepfather and emotional trauma from his brother’s death and his wife’s miscarriage.

Minghella was arrested on March 7, 2001, when authorities tracked his cell phone to the location where Elena Motoc, one of his victims, was last observed. Upon apprehension, the police discovered the victims’ cell phones in his possession, their registration numbers deliberately erased. While he admitted to the murders of ten women in Turin, he maintained his innocence regarding the five victims in Genoa.

This Italian serial murderer was diagnosed with a low IQ and mental disorders. He is currently serving his sentence under the strict 41-bis prison regime.

5. Marco Bergamo 

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Known as “The Monster of Bolzano,” Marco Bergamo murdered five women between 1985 and 1992 in Bolzano, Italy. He received four life sentences along with a 30-year prison term.

Bergamo targeted a 15-year-old student and four prostitutes, subjecting them to multiple stabbings and occasional mutilation. On his 26th birthday, August 6, 1992, he was apprehended shortly after committing his final murder.

Bergamo was notorious for the brutality of his crimes, the significant time lapse between his initial two and final three murders, and the enigma shrouding his motives and personality.

At the age of 51, Marco Bergamo passed away in prison in 2017 due to a severe lung infection. Despite requesting a transfer to a hospital, his plea came too late. Throughout his time, he never showed any remorse for the crimes he committed.

6. Giancarlo Giudice

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Giancarlo Giudice, infamous as Il Mostro di Torino (“The Monster of Turin”), committed the murders of nine prostitutes in Turin between 1983 and 1986. Convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his crimes, he was released in 2008 and has since lived as a free man.

Giudice used knives or screwdrivers to fatally stab nine prostitutes in Turin from 1983 to 1986. He left behind DNA and fingerprints but went unidentified until 1986 when arrested after a failed murder attempt. He confessed, driven by hatred for women, blaming prostitutes for his loneliness and sexual frustration.

Giudice’s potential motives include a troubled past, drug addiction, mental health issues, and an interest in violent pornography. He also cited inspiration from the Zodiac Killer. His case triggered debates on the legal status of prostitutes in Italy and questioned the efficacy and ethics of the Italian justice system.

7. Sonya Caleffi

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Italian female serial killer Sonya Caleffi was found guilty of murdering five individuals and is suspected of being involved in the deaths of up to 18 more.

Employed as a nurse in multiple hospitals and clinics, she administered fatal embolisms by injecting air into the veins of her victims. Her rationale for these actions was rooted in her enjoyment of witnessing medical personnel rush to save the patients in critical situations. Additionally, she struggled with depression, anorexia nervosa, and suicidal tendencies.

Arrested in 2004, Caleffi received a 20-year prison sentence. She became one of the most notorious Italian serial killers due to the significant number of victims, the distinctive method of murder, and the shocking betrayal of her professional role.

8. Andrea Matteucci

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Andrea Matteucci, also known as The Monster of Aosta, was an Italian serial killer who committed four murders in the 1980s and 1990s. He stands out as the only documented serial killer in the Aosta Valley.

Matteucci targeted a merchant, two prostitutes, and a young woman, using disturbing methods such as stabbing, shooting, and strangling. His crimes also involved acts of necrophilia and dismemberment.

In 1995, Matteucci was arrested and received a 28-year prison sentence along with 3 years in a mental institution. He claimed a hatred for women who accepted payment for companionship and believed that those engaged in extramarital affairs with families did not deserve to live.

Andrea Matteucci’s notoriety as one of Italy’s infamous serial killers is attributed to the savagery of his crimes, the extended time span between his first and last murders, and the fact that he was the sole serial killer in a region typically considered peaceful and safe.

9. Roberto Succo

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Born in Mestre, Venice, in 1962, Roberto Succo was an Italian serial killer who carried out numerous murders and violent crimes, primarily in Italy and France during the 1980s.

At the age of 19 in 1981, Succo murdered his parents, leading to a 10-year sentence in a psychiatric prison. Escaping in 1986, he embarked on a violent spree across Europe, claiming the lives of two women, a physician, and two police officers. Although apprehended in 1988, he ultimately took his own life in prison by suffocating himself with a plastic bag.

His notoriety among Italian serial killers stems from the viciousness and unpredictability of his crimes, the extensive media coverage, and the cultural impact he left behind. His narrative served as inspiration for a book, a play, a film, and a song. Additionally, he garnered various nicknames, including “The Monster of Mestre,” “The Killer with the Eyes of Ice,” “The Full Moon Assassin,” and “The Black Cherub.”

10. Giorgio Vizzardelli

10 Most Notorious Serial Killers in Italy

Giorgio Vizzardelli was an Italian serial killer who was also known as Il Mostro di Sarzana (“the Monster of Sarzana”). He committed five murders in Sarzana, a town in the province of La Spezia, between 1937 and 1939.

At just 14, Vizzardelli began his killing spree by shooting the school rector and guard. In 1940, he was arrested for axing the registry office custodian, leading to a life sentence. Escaping in 1944, he joined the Black Brigades, a fascist militia, but was later captured and executed by partisans.

Giorgio Vizzardelli is recognized as one of the most ruthless and enigmatic killers of Italy’s Fascist era, holding the distinction of being the youngest life-sentenced individual in Italian history.

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