Top Italian Unresolved Mysteries Part I

Part 1 of our look at the most famous unsolved Italian mysteries...



Homicide of Pier Paolo Pasolini

This unsolved homicide is one of the biggest cases in Italian criminal history. It was a well-publicized case, and remains a haunting one, for two reasons: the dynamics of the situation and the identity of the victim. Pier Paolo Pasolini was a very famous filmmaker and an extraordinary intellectual in Italian society, openly gay and extremely well-spoken. Pasolini was courageously open about his sexuality in a time when being publicly homosexual was not socially accepted. His ideas and visions were extremely leftist and his films always very provocative, not only for their graphic sexual nature, but also due to their political standpoints. Through Pasolini's work and personal life he made many enemies in the conservative establishment, and his public speeches also embarrassed the Communist Party, of which Pasolini was a member. Eventually he would be expelled from the party by its leaders.


In 1975, Pasolini was found dead on the beach in Ostia, outside Rome. According to reports, Pasolini was enjoying a night of passion with a young lover at the time of his murder. The homicide was brutal and in the end Pasolini was even run over by his own car. The details were shocking but the only person who was ever charged in the killing was Pasolini's young sex partner, a minor at the time. In 2008, however, the man revealed that he was not the only one involved in beating Pasolini to death (he claims three others participated as well). This is not surprising as there have always been doubts as to the identity and motivations of the killer. Now that over 40 years have passed it would be difficult to uncover the truth regarding who was really involved, this is especially true if the murder was politically motivated and possibly involved powerful figures who will likely remain unknown forever.


Pope John Paul I

The Pope of the 33 Days, John Paul I died just over a month after his election in 1978. The death of the man who was supposed to change the course of the Vatican was ruled as natural. The Pope's family name was Luciani and he was widely considered to be a good, honest and righteous man. Perhaps too much so for some, especially as the political and financial situation at the Vatican in those days was quite shady. The Vatican Bank was allegedly involved in some dubious real estate dealings and transaction of international money of unclear origins. Many of the people related to these deals, or that had business with the Vatican Bank, were killed in different places and a conspiracy theory about the Pope being murdered soon began to circulate. While these ideas are speculative they are of course not impossible.


Pope John Paul I


John Paul I was a good priest, but certainly not a skilled politician and he didn't have enough time to fully understand and master a position of power in the Church. Not a political animal, John Paul I was instead a man of spirit and faith, and many speculate that it was his undoing. Many have woven versions of this tale in fiction and perhaps the most famous is found in The Godfather Part III. The last part of the Godfather trilogy not only deals with the Corleone family saga, but also with shady Vatican dealings. Of course, the official story is that the Pope died of natural causes. Whether there is any more to the story remains unknown and if there are secrets behind his death, they are hidden in the depths of the Vatican, like so many other hidden truths about the history of the world.