Skip to content

Hands of madness: Italino and his grave at Staglieno Monumental Cemetery

Among the Italian cemeteries, the Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, is one of the most fascinating, full of mysteries and secrets, with its statues that follow one another and those tombstones that tell ancient stories.
Coming to the highest part of the Monumental Cemetery, you might come across a particular statue, different from all the others. Is that of a child of about 5 years old, running carefree behind his circle, while two hands of madness are about to grab him from behind and seal his fate.

It was the year 1925, and a child, baptized with a nationalist name Italo, very common at that time, was spending his days playing in the streets of Genova. His mother died during childbirth and he lived with his father, Donatello Iacomelli, who loved him more than anything in the world. Italo, lovingly Italino, was well known in the town and everybody adored him as if he was their own child.

It was August 16, 1925, a hot summer day, when Italino decided to go down the street to play with his circle. As usual. His father Donatello followed him with his eyes, although the danger in a world practically still without cars was almost null.
The child was playing carefree when his circle slammed against the legs of a strange man. In a town where everybody was like family, no one could sense the danger of the situation or predict what was going to happen, and in just a few moments the man made an incredible gesture of madness: he took Italino in his arms and threw him down a 15-meter wall.
His poor father and the people around were shocked and, when the man started running, the furious crowd stopped him. They would have lynched him if the police hadn`t arrived soon after that.
Despite the man and Italino were hospitalized in the same hospital, the fate of the two was very different: the man survived, while Italino died because of the the injuries.
It was later discovered that the man, named Ludovico, was showing signs of mental instability already before the tragic episode with the poor Italino.
He went to the police the previous day, stating that he had thrown a child down a wall. The occurrence never actually happened at the time, so the police released him.

Italino`s funeral was very crowded and full of tears and pain for the end of his short life. His father had a tomb set up by the Genoese sculptor Adolfo Lucarini, representing his child doing what he loved most and two hands of madness coming out of the cold earth behind him.
And although today the tomb is off the beaten track in the cemetery and therefore not visited much, the memory of Italino, that child so full of life, is still alive, even almost a century later…

%d bloggers like this: