Death and the Dolce Vita: The Dark Side of Rome in the 1950s

Overview

This true story of the 1950s murder scandal that rocked Italy portrays the Rome of romance, luxury, and glamour—as well as a city of carnal crimes, sex, drugs, corruption, and cover-ups

On April 9, 1953 an attractive 21-year-old woman went missing from her family home in Rome. Thirty-six hours later her body was found washed up on a neglected beach at Torvaianica, 40 kilometers from the Italian capital. Some said it was suicide; others, a tragic ...

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Death and the Dolce Vita: The Dark Side of Rome in the 1950s

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Overview

This true story of the 1950s murder scandal that rocked Italy portrays the Rome of romance, luxury, and glamour—as well as a city of carnal crimes, sex, drugs, corruption, and cover-ups

On April 9, 1953 an attractive 21-year-old woman went missing from her family home in Rome. Thirty-six hours later her body was found washed up on a neglected beach at Torvaianica, 40 kilometers from the Italian capital. Some said it was suicide; others, a tragic accident. But could the mysterious death of this quiet, conservative girl be linked to a drug-fueled orgy involving some of the richest men in Italy? The short life and tragic death of Wilma Montesi was played out against a fascinating backdrop. By the 1950s Italy, in the wake of Mussolini's brutal Fascist government, was in the process of reinventing itself; and with the help of Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, it seemed to be succeeding. Suddenly Italy, and Rome in particular, was the most glamorous place on earth. But the murder of Wilma Montesi exposed a darker side of Roman life—a life of corruption, cover-ups, and carnal pleasures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Inspired . . . the whole gloriously unimproving narrative provides the essential backstory for the Berlusconian bunga-bunga of Italy in our own day." - Literary Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847676559
  • Publisher: Canongate UK
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 404
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Gundle is an historian with specialist interest in modern Italy. His books include Bellissima: Feminine Beauty and the Idea of Italy and Glamour: A History.
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Table of Contents

Dramatis Personae ix

Prologue 1

Part 1

I The Body on the Beach 11

II The Rumour Mill 23

III Politics and Scandal 35

IV Via Margutta 47

V Hollywood on the Tiber 58

VI Girl About Town 74

VII The Marchese of San Bartolomeo 89

VIII New and Old Rome 97

Part 2

IX Muto on Trial 111

X A New Investigation 133

XI Via Veneto 154

XII Piccioni's Alibi 167

XIII The Establishment Fights Back 179

XIV A Family Under Stress 186

XV The Long Arm of the Mafia 201

XVI Dr Sepe Reports 216

XVII The Venice Trial 229

Part 3

XVIII The Rise of the Paparazzi 267

XIX The 'Sweet Life' on Screen 290

XX Aftermath 306

XXI Keys to the Case 321

Epilogue 343

Bibliography 355

Filmography 366

Notes on Sources 367

Acknowledgements 382

Index 385

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