Years of Lead (Italy)

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Years of Terrorism
Part of the Cold War
Attack at the Bologna railway station; it was the deadliest episode of the Years of Lead.
Date 1968 – 1982
Location Italy (mainly Northern Italy)

Decrease of the terrorism in Italy:


Italy Italian Government

Far-left terrorist groups:
Flag of the Brigate Rosse.svg Red Brigades
Front Line
October 22 Group
Continuous Struggle

Supported by:
 Soviet Union (alleged)

Far-right terrorist groups:
ANazionale.svg National Vanguard
Black Order
Third Position

Supported by:
 United States (alleged)
Commanders and leaders
Casualties and losses
Around 500-1,000 civilians and officer killed
Part of a series on the
History of Italy
Emblem of Italy
Italy portal

The Years of Lead was a period of socio-political turmoil in Italy that lasted from the late 1960s into the early 1980s, marked by a wave of terrorism. Among the possible origins of the name are a reference to the vast number of bullets fired,[1] or the 1981 film Marianne and Juliane by Margarethe von Trotta, for which the Italian title is Anni di piombo.

The left-wing autonomist movement lasted from 1968 until the end of the 1970s. The "years of lead" began with the shooting death of the policeman Antonio Annarumma in 1969 and the Piazza Fontana bombing.[2]

Widespread unrest of 1960s and 1970s

There was widespread social conflict and unprecedented acts of terrorism carried out by both right- and left-wing paramilitary groups. An attempt to endorse the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) by the Tambroni Cabinet led to rioting and was short-lived.[3] Widespread labor unrest and the collaboration of countercultural student activist groups with working class factory workers and pro-labor radical leftist organizations such as Potere Operaio and Lotta Continua culminated in the so-called autunno caldo, or "Hot Autumn" of 1969, a massive series of strikes in factories and industrial centers in Northern Italy.[2] Student strikes and labor strikes, often led by leftist or Marxist activists, became increasingly common, often deteriorating into clashes between the police and demonstrators composed largely of students, workers, activists, and often left-wing militants.[2] The Christian Democrats (DC) were instrumental in the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) gaining power in the 1960s and they created a coalition. The assassination of the Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978 ended the strategy of historic compromise between the DC and the Italian Communist Party (PCI). The assassination was carried out by the Red Brigades, then led by Mario Moretti. Between 1969 and 1981, nearly 2,000 murders were attributed to political violence in the form of bombings, assassinations, and street warfare between rival militant factions.

On 4 May 2007 the Italian Parliament declared 9 May as a memorial day dedicated to the victims of terrorism.[4]



Public protests

Public protests shook Italy during 1969, with the autonomist student movement being particularly active, leading to the occupation of the Fiat automobile factory in Milan. Mario Capanna of the New Left movement, was prominent at the time, along with members of Potere Operaio and Autonomia Operaia (Antonio Negri, Oreste Scalzone, Franco Piperno), and Lotta Continua (Adriano Sofri).

Death of Antonio Annarumma

On 19 November 1969, Antonio Annarumma, a Milanese policeman, was assassinated during a riot of far-left demonstrators.[5][6] He was the first public official to die in the ensuing wave of violence referred to as "The Years of Lead".

Piazza Fontana bombing

The Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in Rome and the Banca Commerciale Italiana and the Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura in Milan were bombed in December.

Local police arrested 80 or so suspects from left-wing groups, including Giuseppe Pinelli, an anarchist initially blamed for the bombing, and Pietro Valpreda. Their guilt was denied by left-wing members, especially by members of the student movement, then prominent in Milan's universities, as they believed that the bombing was carried out by fascists. Following the death of Giuseppe Pinelli, who died on 15 December while in police custody, the radical left-wing newspaper Lotta Continua started a campaign accusing police officer Luigi Calabresi of Pinelli's murder.[2][7] In 1975 Calabresi and other police officials were acquitted by the prosecutor (giudice istruttore) Gerardo D'Ambrosio who decided that Pinelli's fall had been caused by his being taken ill and losing his balance.[8][9]

Meanwhile, the anarchist Valpreda and five others were convicted and jailed for the bombing. They were later released after three years of preventive detention. Then two neo-fascists, Franco Freda (resident in Padua) and Giovanni Ventura, were arrested accused of being the organizers of the massacre: in 1987 they were acquitted by the supreme Court of Cassation for lack of evidence.[10]

In 1990s new investigations into Piazza Fontana claimed that due to new witnesses they believe Freda and Ventura were involved in the terrorist attack. However the pair cannot be put on trial again as they were acquitted of the crime in 1987.[11]

Over a 36-year period, the identity of the perpetrators and of instigators has remained unknown.

The Red Brigades, the most prominent far-left terrorist organization, conducted a secret internal investigation that paralleled the official inquiry.[12] They ordered that the inquiry remain secret, because of the unfavorable light that it could shed on other terrorist organizations. The inquiry was discovered after a fire-fight between Red Brigade forces and Italian police (carabinieri) at Robbiano di Mediglia in October 1974. The cover-up was exposed in 2000 by Giovanni Pellegrino, at the time President of the Commissione Stragi (Parliamentary Committee on massacres).[13]


Birth of the Red Brigades

The Red Brigades were founded in August 1970 by Renato Curcio and Margherita (Mara) Cagol, who had met as students at the University of Trento and later married,[2] and Alberto Franceschini.

While the Trento group around Curcio had its main roots in the Sociology Department of the Catholic University, the Reggio Emilia group (around Franceschini) included mostly former members of the FGCI (the Communist youth movement) expelled from the parent party for extremist views.[2]

Another group of militants founders came from factories Sit-Siemens (in Milan); they were Mario Moretti, an industrial expert, Corrado Alunni, who will leave the Red Brigades to found another organization «fighter», Alfredo Buonavita, worker.[2]

The first action of the RB was the fire at the car of Giuseppe Leoni (a leader of Sit-Siemens company in Milan) on 17 September 1970, within the working fights within the factory. That same evening appears in the window of Ferrari of another head of the company, the engineer Giorgio Villa, a poster with the message: «How long will your Ferrari? Until we decide it is time to end it and scabs. Signed Red Brigades».

The Golpe Borghese

In December, a neo-fascist coup, dubbed the Golpe Borghese, was planned by young far-right fanatics, elderly veterans of Italian Social Republic, and supported by members of the Corpo Forestale dello Stato, along with the right-aligned entrepreneurs and industrialists. The "Black Prince", Junio Valerio Borghese, took part in it. The coup, called off at the last moment, was discovered by the newspaper Paese Sera, and publicly released a three months later.[2]


Assassination of Alessandro Floris

On 26 March Alessandro Floris was assassinated in Genoa, by a unit of the October 22 Group, a far-left terrorist organization. An amateur photographer had taken a photo of the killer that enabled police to identify the terrorists. The group was investigated and more members arrested. Some fled to Milan and joined the "Gruppi di Azione Partigiana" (GAP) and later the Red Brigades.[14]

The Red Brigades considered the group Gruppo XXII Ottobre its predecessor and in April 1974, it kidnapped Judge Mario Sossi in an effort to free the arrested member. The effort was unsuccessful.[15] Years later, the Red Brigades killed the judge Francesco Coco on June 8, 1976 out of revenge, along with his two police escorts, Giovanni Saponara and Antioco Deiana.[16]


Assassination of Luigi Calabresi

On 17 May 1972, police officer Luigi Calabresi, recipient of the gold medal of the Italian Republic for civil valour, was assassinated in Milan. Authorities initially focused on suspects in Lotta Continua, that was assumed that the Calabresi had been killed by neo-fascist organizations, accusing and arresting two neo-fascist activists, Gianni Nardi and Bruno Stefano, along with the German Gudrun Kiess, in 1974. They were ultimately released. Sixteen years later, Adriano Sofri, Giorgio Petrostefani, Ovidio Bompressi, and Leonardo Marino were arrested in Milan following Marino's confession to the murder. Their trial finally established their guilt in the organisation and carrying out the murder.[17] Calabresi's assassination opened the chapter of «executions» carried out by armed groups of the far-left.[2]

Peteano bombing

On 31 May 1972, three Italian Carabinieri were killed in Peteano in a bombing, blamed on Lotta Continua. Officers of the Carabinieri were later indicted and convicted for manipulating the investigation in false directions.[18] Judge Casson identified Ordine Nuovo member Vincenzo Vinciguerra as the culprit who had planted the Peteano bomb.

The neo-fascist terrorist Vincenzo Vinciguerra, arrested in the 1980s for the bombing in Peteano, declared to magistrate Felice Casson that this false flag attack had been intended to force the Italian state to declare a state of emergency and to become more authoritarian. Vinciguerra explained how the SISMI military intelligence agency had protected him, allowing him to escape to Francoist Spain.

Casson's investigation revealed that the right-wing organization Ordine Nuovo had collaborated with the Italian Military Secret Service, SID (Servizio Informazioni Difesa). Together, they had engineered the Peteano terror and then wrongly blamed the militant Italian far-left, the Red Brigades. He confessed and testified that he had been covered by an entire network of sympathizers in Italy and abroad who had ensured that after the attack he could escape. «A whole mechanism came into action», Vinciguerra recalled, «that is, the Carabinieri, the Minister of the Interior, the customs services and the military and civilian intelligence services accepted the ideological reasoning behind the attack.»[19][20]


The Primavalle Fire

Main article: Primavalle Fire

An 16 April 1973 attack by members of Potere Operaio on the house of neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) militant Mario Mattei resulted in his two sons, aged 8 and 20, being burned alive.

Milan Police command (Questura di Milano) bombing

During a 17 May 1973 ceremony honoring Luigi Calabresi, in which the Interior Minister was present, Gianfranco Bertoli, an anarchist, threw a bomb that killed four and injured 45.

In 1975 Bertoli was sentenced to life imprisonment: the Milan Court wrote that he was embroiled in relations with far-right, that was a SID informant and a confidant of the Police.[7]

In the 1990s it was suspected that Bertoli was a member of Gladio, but he denied it in an interview: in the list of 622 Gladio's members made public in 1990 his name is missing.[21][22]

A magistrate investigating the assassination attempt of Mariano Rumor found that Bertoli's files were incomplete.[18] General Gianadelio Maletti, head of the SID from 1971 to 1975, was convicted in absentia in 1990 for obstruction of justice in the Mariano Rumor case.


Piazza della Loggia bombing

In May 1974, a bomb exploded during an anti-fascist demonstration in Brescia, killing eight and wounding 102. On 16 November 2010, the Court of Brescia acquitted the defendants: Francesco Delfino (a Carabiniere), Carlo Maria Maggi, Pino Rauti, Maurizio Tramonte and Delfo Zorzi (members of the Ordine Nuovo neo-fascist group). The prosecutor had requested life imprisonment for Delfino, Maggi, Tramonte and Zorzi, and the acquittal for lack of evidence for Pino Rauti. The four defendants were acquitted also in 2012, but in 2014 the supreme Court of Cassation declared the appeal process must be redone at the Court of appeal in Milan for Maggi and Tramonte. Delfino and Zorzi are finally acquitted. On 22 July 2015, the Court of appeal sentenced Maggi and Tramonte to life imprisonment for ordering and coordinating the massacre.[23]

First murder of the Red Brigades

On 17 June two members of MSI had been murdered in their federation party, in Padua. The unfortunates had been bound, lying on the ground, affected the nape. Initially was suspected of an internal feud between neo-fascist groups (citing proof this thesis the fact that the crime had occurred in the city of Franco Freda). Then the murder was claimed by the Red Brigades: it was the first murder of the organization,[2] which until then had accomplished robberies proletarian, bombings and kidnappings.[7]

Planned neo-fascist coup

Count Edgardo Sogno said in his memoirs that in July 1974, he visited the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station chief in Rome to inform him of preparations for a neo-fascist coup. Asking what the United States (US) government would do in case of such a coup, Sogno wrote that he was told, "the United States would have supported any initiative tending to keep the communists out of government." General Maletti declared, in 2001, that he had not known about Sogno's relationship with the CIA and had not been informed about the coup, known as Golpe bianco (White Coup), led by Randolfo Pacciardi.[24]

Bombing of Italicus train

On 4 August, 12 died and 105 were injured in the bombing of the Italicus Roma-Brennero express at San Benedetto Val di Sambro.

Arrest of Vito Miceli

General Vito Miceli, chief of the SIOS military intelligence agency in 1969, and head of the SID from 1970 to 1974, was arrested in 1974 on charges of «conspiracy against the state».[7] Following his arrest, the Italian secret services were reorganized by a 24 October 1977 law in an attempt to reassert civilian control over the intelligence agencies. The SID was divided into the current SISMI, the SISDE, and the CESIS, which was to directly coordinate with the Prime Minister of Italy. An Italian Parliamentary Committee on Secret services control (Copaco) was created at the same time[citation needed]. Miceli, in 1978, was acquitted of «conspiracy against the state» because the crime doesn't exist (it: il fatto non sussite).[7]

Arrest of Red Brigades leaders

In 1974, some leaders of the Red Brigades, including Renato Curcio and Alberto Franceschini, were arrested, but new leadership continued the war against the Italian right-wing establishment with increased fervor.[2]

There were technical conditions for the coup de grace to rising terrorism: however lacked the political conditions. All the Italian left wasn't scandalized for the appearance of the armed party, but for the possible abuses by the police against the protesters. It was not the armed party that was scary, but the police armed, of which was asked, in street demonstrations, the disarmament. All signatories of posters, all politicians fearful to remain in the rearguard (and there were also in the Christian Democracy) underestimated the threat of the Red Brigades (speaking of «phantom» Red Brigades), emphasiyng instead that of the neo-fascist or neo-Nazi groups.[2]

The year before, Potere Operaio had disbanded, although Autonomia Operaia carried on in its wake. Lotta Continua also dissolved in 1976, although the magazine struggled on for several years. From remnants of Lotta Continua and similar groups, the terror organization Prima Linea emerged.


On 28 February, student and right activist Mikis Mantakas was killed by far-leftists during riots.[7]

On 13 March, young militant of Italian Social Movement (MSI) Sergio Ramelli was assaulted in Milan by a group of Avanguardia Operaia and wounded in the head with wrenches (aka Hazet 36). He died on 29 April, after 47 days in the hospital.[2]

On 25 May, student and left activist Alberto Brasili was stabbed in Milan by neo-fascist militants.[2]

On 5 June, pinned police Giovanni D'Alfonso was killed by the Red Brigades.[2]


On 29 April, lawyer and militant of Italian Social Movement (MSI) Enrico Pedenovi was killed in Milan by the organization Prima Linea. This was the first assassination conducted by Prima Linea.[25]

On 8 July, in Rome, Judge Vittorio Occorsio was killed by neo-fascist Pierluigi Concutelli.[7]

On 14 December, in Rome, policeman Prisco Palumbo was killed by the Nuclei Armati Proletari.[2]

On 15 December, in Sesto San Giovanni (a town near Milan), vice chief Vittorio Padovani and Marshal Sergio Bazzega were killed by young extremist Walter Alasia.[2]


On 12 March, a Turin policeman Giuseppe Ciotta was killed by far-left terrorist organization, Prima Linea.[26]

On 22 March, a Rome policeman Claudio Graziosi was killed by far-left terrorist organization, Nuclei Armati Proletari.[2]

On 28 April, in Turin, lawyer Fulvio Croce was killed by the Red Brigades.[7]

On 14 May, in Milan, some activists from a far-left organization pulled out their pistols and began to fire on the police, killing policeman Antonio Custra.[27] A photographer took a photo of an activist shooting at the police. This year was called the time of the "P38", referring to the Walther P38 pistol.

On 16 November, in Turin, Carlo Casalegno, deputy director of the newspaper La Stampa, is seriously wounded in an ambush of the Red Brigades. He dies thirteen days later, on 29 November.[7]


On 4 January, in Cassino (a town near Rome), Fiat boss security services Carmine De Rosa was killed by leftists.[2]

On 8 January, in Rome young militants of Italian Social Movement (MSI) Franco Bigonzetti and Francesco Ciavatta were killed by far-leftists, another militant (Stefano Recchioni) was killed by the police during a violent demonstration.[2] Some militants left the MSI and found the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari, who had ties with the Roman criminal organization Banda della Magliana.[7]

On 20 January, in Florence, policeman Fausto Dionisi was killed by Prima Linea.[2]

On 7 February, in Prato (a town near Florence), notary Gianfranco Spighi was killed by leftists.[2]

On 16 February, in Rome, Judge Riccardo Palma was killed the Red Brigades.[2]

On 10 March, in Turin, Marshal Rosario Berardi was killed the Red Brigades.[2]

On 11 April, in Turin, policeman Lorenzo Cotugno was killed the Red Brigades.[2]

On 20 April, in Milan, policeman Francesco De Cataldo was killed the Red Brigades.[2]

On 10 October, in Rome, Judge Girolamo Tartaglione was killed the Red Brigades.[7]

On 11 October, in Naples, university professor Alfredo Paolella was killed by Prima Linea.[7]

On 8 November, in Patrica (a town near Frosinone), Judge Fedele Calvosa was killed by the Unità Comuniste Combattenti.[7]

Kidnapping and assassination of Aldo Moro

On 16 March 1978, Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades, and five of his bodyguards killed. The Red Brigades were a militant leftist group, then led by Mario Moretti. Aldo Moro was a left-leaning Christian Democrat who served several times as Prime Minister. Before his murder he was trying to include the Italian Communist Party (PCI), headed by Enrico Berlinguer, in the government through a deal called the Historic Compromise. The PCI was the largest communist party in western Europe. This was largely because of its non-extremist and pragmatic stance, its growing independence from Moscow and its eurocommunist doctrine. The PCI was especially strong in areas such as Emilia Romagna, where it had stable government positions and mature practical experience, which may have contributed to a more pragmatic approach to politics. The Red Brigades were fiercely opposed by the Communist Party and trade unions, a few left-wing politicians even used the condescending expression «comrades who do wrong» (Compagni che sbagliano). Franco Bonisoli (it), one of RB's members who participated at the kidnapping, declared that the decision to kidnap Moro «was taken a week before, was appointed a day, could be on 15 or 17 March.»[2]

On 9 May 1978, after a summary «process of the people», Moro was murdered by Mario Moretti. It was also determined that the participation of Germano Maccari (it).[28] The corpse was found that same day in the trunk of a red Renault 4 in via Michelangelo Caetani in the historic centre of Rome. A consequence there was the fact that the PCI did not gain executive power.

Moro's assassination was followed by a large clampdown on the social movement, including the arrest of many members of Autonomia Operaia, including, Oreste Scalzone and political philosopher Antonio Negri (arrested on 7 April 1979).


Active armed formations were increased by 2 in 1969 to 91 in 1977 and 269 in 1979. In that year there were 659 attacks.[7]

The year with the most assassinations

On 19 January, Turin policeman Giuseppe Lorusso was killed by the Prima Linea organization.[29]

On 24 January, worker and trade unionist Guido Rossa was killed in Genoa by the Red Brigades.[30]

On 29 January, Judge Emilio Alesandrini was killed in Milan by Prima Linea.[31]

On 9 March, university student Emanuele Iurilli was killed in Turin by Prima Linea.[32]

On 20 March, investigative journalist Mino Pecorelli was gunned down in his car in Rome. Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti and Mafia boss Gaetano Badalamenti were sentenced in 2002 to 24 years in prison for the murder, though the sentences were overturned the following year.[33]

On 3 May, in Rome, policemen Antonio Mea and Piero Ollanu were killed by the Red Brigades.[30]

On 13 July, in Druento (a town near Turin), policeman Bartolomeo Mana was killed by Prima Linea.[34]

On 13 July, in Rome, Lieutenant Colonel of Carabinieri Antonio Varisco was killed by the Red Brigades.[30]

On 18 July, barman Carmine Civitate was killed in Turin, by Prima Linea.[35]

On 21 September, Carlo Ghiglieno was killed in Turin by a group of Prima Linea.[36]

On 11 December, five teachers and five students of "Valletta" Institute in Turin were killed by Prima Linea.[7]


More assassinations

On 8 January, Milan policemen Antonio Cestari, Rocco Santoro and Michele Tatulli were killed by the Red Brigades.[7]

On 25 January, Genoa policemen Emanuele Tuttobene and Antonio Casu were killed by the Red Brigades.[7]

On 29 January, manager of Porto Marghera's petrochemical Silvio Gori was killed by the Red Brigades.[7]

On 5 February, in Monza, Paolo Paoletti was killed by Prima Linea.[37][38]

On 7 February, Prima Linea's militant William Vaccher was killed on suspicion of treason.[7]

On 12 February, in Rome, at the "La Sapienza" University, Vittorio Bachelet, vice-president of the Superior Council of Magistrates and former president of the Roman Catholic association Azione Cattolica, was killed by the Red Brigades.[7]

On 10 March, in Rome, cook Luigi Allegretti was killed by Compagni armati per il Comunismo.[30]

On 16 March, in Salerno, Judge Nicola Giacumbi was killed by the Red Brigades.[7]

On 18 March, in Rome, Judge Girolamo Minervini was killed by the Red Brigades.[30]

On 19 March, in Milan, Judge Guido Galli was killed by a group of Prima Linea.[39]

On 10 April, in Turin, Giuseppe Pisciuneri a Mondialpol guard, was killed by Ronde Proletarie.[40]

On 28 May, in Milan, journalist Walter Tobagi was killed by Brigata XXVIII marzo.[30]

On 23 June, in Rome, Judge Mario Amato was killed by the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.[30]

On 31 December, in Rome, General of Carabinieri Enrico Galvaligi was killed by the Red Brigades.[30]

The Bologna Massacre

Main article: Bologna massacre

On 2 August, a bomb killed 85 people and wounded more than 200 in Bologna. Known as the Bologna massacre, the blast destroyed a large portion of the city's railway station. This was found to be a neo-fascist bombing, mainly organized by the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari: Francesca Mambro and Valerio Fioravanti were sentenced to life imprisonment. In April 2007 the Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of Luigi Ciavardini, a NAR member associated closely with close ties to Terza Posizione. Ciavardini received a 30-year prison sentence for his role in the attack.[41]


On 6 July, Giuseppe Taliercio, director of the Porto Marghera's petrochemical, was killed by the Red Brigades after 47 days of kidnapping.[7]

On 3 August, Roberto Peci, worker electrician, was killed by the Red Brigades after 54 days of kidnapping. It's a vendetta against his brother Patrizio, member of RB became pentito the year before.[7]

On 17 December, James L. Dozier, an American general and the deputy commander of NATO's South European forces based in Verona, was kidnapped by Red Brigades. He was freed in Padua on 28 January 1982 by the Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza (NOCS), an Italian police anti-terrorist task force.[42]


On 26 August, a group of Red Brigades terrorists attacked a military troop convoy, in Salerno. In the attack, Corporal Antonio Palumbo[43] and policemen Antonio Bandiera[44] and Mario De Marco[45] were killed. The terrorists escaped.

On 21 October, a group of Red Brigades terrorists attacked a bank in Turin, killing two guards, Antonio Pedio[46] and Sebastiano d'Alleo.[47]


On 15 February, Leamon Hunt, American diplomat and Director General of the international peacekeeping force, Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), was killed by the Red Brigades.[7]

On 23 December, a bomb in a train between Florence and Rome killed 17 and wounded more than 200. In 1992, Mafia's members Giuseppe Calò and Guido Cercola were sentenced to life imprisonment, Franco Di Agostino (another member of the Sicilian Mafia) got 24 years, and German engineer Friedrich Schaudinn to 22 for the bombing. Camorra's member Giuseppe Misso was sentenced to 3 years; another members of the Camorra Alfonso Galeota and Giulio Pirozzi were sentenced to 18 months, and their role in the massacre was deemed as marginal.[48] On 18 February 1994, Florence Court discharged MSI member of Parliament Massimo Abbatangelo from the massacre charge, but deemed him guilty of giving the explosive to Misso in the spring of 1984. Abbatangelo was sentenced to 6 years. Victims' relatives asked for a tougher sentence, but lost the appeal and had to pay for judiciary expenses.[49]


On 9 January, in Torvaianica (a town near Rome), policeman Ottavio Conte was killed by the Red Brigades.[30]

On 27 March, in Rome, economist Ezio Tarantelli was killed by the Red Brigades.[30]


On 10 February 1986, Lando Conti, former Mayor of Florence, was killed by the Red Brigades.[7]


On 20 March 1987, Licio Giorgieri, a general in the Italian Air Force, was assassinated by the Red Brigades in Rome.[7]


On 16 April 1988, Senator Roberto Ruffilli was assassinated in an attack by a group of Red Brigades in Forlì. The last murder committed by the Red Brigades: on 23 October a group of irreducibles declared, in a document, that war against the State was over.[7]

Continued violence

In the late 1990s - early 2000s (decade), a resurgence of Red Brigade terrorism led to the assassination of labour law consultants and experts, Massimo D'Antona and Marco Biagi.

On 20 May 1999, Massimo D'Antona, consultant to the Ministry of Labour, was assassinated in an attack by a group of terrorists of the Red Brigade, group BR-PCC, in Rome.

On 19 March 2002, Marco Biagi, consultant to the Ministry of Labour, was assassinated in an attack by a group of terrorists of the Red Brigade, in Bologna.

On 2 March 2003, Emanuele Petri, state policeman, was assassinated by a group of Red Brigades terrorists, near Castiglion Fiorentino.

In 2005 some suspected terrorists were arrested, known as the New Red Brigades (Nuove Brigate Rosse). On 13 June the court in Milan (corte d'Assise) condemned 14 terrorists. The leader was sentenced to 15 years in jail. Three suspected terrorists were found not guilty.[citation needed]



The Mitterrand doctrine, which was established in 1985 by then French president François Mitterrand, stated that Italian far-left terrorists who fled to France and who were convicted of violent acts in Italy, excluding "active, actual, bloody terrorism" during the "Years of Lead", would receive asylum and would not be subject to extradition to Italy. They would be integrated into French society.

The act was announced on 21 April 1985, at the 65th Congress of the Human Rights League (Ligue des droits de l'homme, LDH), stating that Italian criminals who had given up their violent pasts and had fled to France would be protected from extradition to Italy:

Italian refugees... who took part in terrorist action before 1981... have broken links with the infernal machine in which they participated, have begun a second phase of their lives, have integrated into French society... I told the Italian government that they were safe from any sanction by the means of extradition.[50]


Some Italian citizens accused of terrorist acts have found refuge in Brazil such as Cesare Battisti and others former members of the Armed Proletarians for Communism, a far-left militant and terrorist group which committed acts of illegality and crimes in Italy during the period known as "Years of Lead".


Some Italian far-left activists found political asylum in Nicaragua, including Alessio Casimirri, who took part in the kidnapping of Aldo Moro.

Terrorist organizations in Italy (incomplete list)

See also


  1. Westcott, Kathryn (January 6, 2004). "Italy's history of terror". BBC News. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 Montanelli, Indro; Mario Cervi (1991). L'Italia degli anni di piombo. Milan, Lombardy, Italy: Rizzoli Editore. 
  3. Montanelli, Indro; Mario Cervi (1989). L'Italia dei due Giovanni. Milan, Lombardy, Italy: Rizzoli Editore. 
  5. 1981/1969annarumma.htm
  6. "Nessuna Conseguenza – La Morte di Antonio Annarumma". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 7.25 7.26 Zavoli, Sergio (1992). La notte della repubblica. Rome, Lazio, Italy: Nuova Eri. 
  8. Bull, Anna Cento and Cooke, Philip. Ending Terrorism in Italy, Routledge, 2013, ISBN 9781135040802.
  9. "Né omicidio né suicidio: Pinelli cadde perché colto da malore", La Stampa, October 29, 1975 (Italian).
  10. "STRAGE DI PIAZZA FONTANA AZZERATI 17 ANNI DI INDAGINI", la Repubblica, January 28, 1987 (Italian).
  11. "Freda e Ventura erano colpevoli", Corriere della Sera, June 11, 2005 (Italian).
  12. it:Inchieste di Robbiano di Mediglia Inquiry of the Red Brigades in Italy Wikipedia
  13. it:Commissione Stragi "Commissione Stragi" in Italy Wikipedia
  14. "Alessandro Floris – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". 1939-10-21. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  15. "Mario Sossi −". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  16. "Francesco Coco – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  17. "Luigi Calabresi – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Carlo Ginzburg, The Judge and the Historian. Marginal Notes and a Late-Twentieth-century Miscarriage of Justice, London 1999, ISBN 1-85984-371-9. Original ed. 1991.
  19. Daniele Ganser, NATO's Secret Armies. Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, Franck Cass, London, 2005, pp.3–4
  20. "Strage di Piazza Fontana spunta un agente USA". la Repubblica. February 11, 1998. Retrieved 2007-02-20.  (With original documents, including juridical sentences and the report of the Italian Commission on Terrorism) (Italian)
  21. "Io spia dei Servizi? Follia", La Stampa, March 21, 1995 (Italian).
  22. Camera dei deputati - relazione sulla vicenda Gladio – allegati Elenco dei 622 nominativi e Parere dell’Avvocatura dello Stato (Italian).
  23. "Strage di piazza Loggia, ergastolo ai neofascisti Maggi e Tramonte". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 2015-07-23. 
  24. Philip Willan, "Terrorists 'helped by CIA' to stop rise of left in Italy", The Guardian, March 26, 2001.
  25. "Enrico Pedenovi – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  26. "Giuseppe Ciotta – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  27. "Antonio Custra – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  28. Flavio Haver, "Erano le 6.30, così uccidemmo Moro", Corriere della Sera, June 20, 1996 (Italian).
  29. "Giuseppe Lorusso – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 30.6 30.7 30.8 30.9 Montanelli, Indro; Mario Cervi (1993). L'Italia degli anni di fango. Milan, Lombardy, Italy: Rizzoli Editore. 
  31. "Emilio Alessandrini – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  32. "Emanuele Iurilli – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  33. "Andreotti, Ex-Italian Premier Linked to Mafia, Dies at 94". Bloomberg. 
  34. "Bartolomeo Mana – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  35. "Carmine Civitate – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  36. "Carlo Ghiglieno – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". 1928-06-27. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  37. ‘Paolo Paoletti’, AIVITER.
  38. Presidenza della Repubblica, Per le vittime del terrorismo nell'Italia repubblicana: ‘giorno della memoria’ dedicato alle vittime del terrorismo e delle stragi di tale matrice, 9 maggio 2008 (Rome: Istituto poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 2008), page 132, ISBN 978-88-240-2868-4
  39. ‘Guido Galli’, AIVITER.
  40. "Giuseppe Pisciuneri – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  41. "Bologna bomber's 30-year jail term confirmed". Associated Press. April 11, 2007. 
  42. Collin, Richard Oliver and Gordon L. Freedman. Winter of Fire, Penguin Group, 1990.
  43. "Antonio Palumbo – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  44. "Antonio Bandiera – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  45. "Mario De Marco – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  46. "Antonio Pedio – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  47. "Sebastiano D’Alleo – Associazione Vittime del Terrorismo". Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  48. "Strage di Natale, ergastolo al boss", Corriere della Sera, November 25, 1992 (Italian).
  49. "Abbatangelo: condanna definitiva a 6 anni", Corriere della Sera, December 20, 1994 (Italian).
  50. Les réfugiés italiens (...) qui ont participé à l'action terroriste avant 1981 (...) ont rompu avec la machine infernale dans laquelle ils s'étaient engagés, ont abordé une deuxième phase de leur propre vie, se sont inséré dans la société française (...). J'ai dit au gouvernement italien qu'ils étaient à l'abri de toute sanction par voie d'extradition (...).


  • Montanelli, Indro; Mario Cervi (1989). L'Italia dei due Giovanni. Milan, Lombardy, Italy: Rizzoli Editore. 
  • Montanelli, Indro; Mario Cervi (1991). L'Italia degli anni di piombo. Milan, Lombardy, Italy: Rizzoli Editore. 
  • Zavoli, Sergio (1992). La notte della repubblica. Rome, Lazio, Italy: Nuova Eri. 
  • Montanelli, Indro; Mario Cervi (1993). L'Italia degli anni di fango. Milan, Lombardy, Italy: Rizzoli Editore. 
  • Cento Bull, Anna; Adalgisa Giorgio (2006). Speaking Out and Silencing: Culture, Society and Politics in Italy in the 1970s. 
  • Fasanella, Giovanni; Giovanni Pellegrino. La guerra civile. 
  • Per le vittime del terrorismo nell'Italia repubblicana – Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato Libreria dello Stato – Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato S.p.A. The office of Republic President. 

External links