By Stephen Gundle
This real tale of the 1950s murder scandal that rocked Italy portrays the Rome of romance, luxurious, and glamour—as good as a city of carnal crimes, intercourse, medicinal drugs, corruption, and cover-ups
On April 9, 1953, an enticing 21-year-old girl went lacking from her kinfolk domestic in Rome. Thirty-six hours later her physique was once discovered washed up on a overlooked seashore at Torvaianica, 40 kilometers from the Italian capital. a few acknowledged it used to be suicide, others, a sad twist of fate. yet may well the mysterious demise of this quiet, conservative woman be associated with a drug-fueled orgy concerning the various richest males in Italy? The brief lifestyles and tragic dying of Wilma Montesi was once performed out opposed to a desirable backdrop. by way of the Fifties Italy, within the wake of Mussolini's brutal Fascist executive, was once within the technique of reinventing itself, and with assistance from Hollywood stars akin to Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, it looked to be succeeding. unexpectedly Italy, and Rome particularly, used to be the main glamorous position in the world. however the homicide of Wilma Montesi uncovered a darker aspect of Roman life—a lifetime of corruption, cover-ups, and carnal pleasures.
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Extra info for Death and the Dolce Vita: The Dark Side of Rome in the 1950s
As a celebrity of the artwork scene recognized for what fellow artist Ugo Moretti referred to as ‘her patrician eyes and progressive blonde hair’, she would seem in short in Fellini’s l. a. dolce vita, taking part in herself, and in his follow-up Giulietta degli spiriti. Salvatore used to be no recluse yet neither was once she an exceptional fan of the cliquey surroundings that marked the creative group. She opened a gallery known as Pincio on the finish of through del Babuino, the place she hosted the paintings of younger figurative painters in addition to crafts. She used to be drawn to artwork instead of impression or popularity. The function of queen bee in through Margutta fell to a different girl painter,Novella Parigini. extra bubbly and well known than Salvatore, yet a lesser artist, Parigini used to be enormously vigorous and did a lot to set up the general public acceptance of the line on which she lived and labored. Her studio at through Margutta 53b – the place her identify plaque can nonetheless be visible – was once an everlasting open apartment the place many proficient drifters stumbled on transitority shelter. Blonde and petite, she had spent a number of years in Paris the place she mingled with the good figures of the Left financial institution – Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet and Juliette Greco – and visited foreigners, together with Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway. She additionally studied in manhattan. while she again to Italy in 1949, she used to be taken up via no much less a determine than Margherita Sarfatti,Mussolini’s one-time mistress,who had performed a job in launching his political occupation. Parigini’s work weren't very memorable. Her maximum innovation was once the discovery of face and physique portray. For carnival, her lady types have been photographed with their faces, necks and backs daubed with zigzags and animal gains. differently she specialized in naïf woman pics with cat’s faces. It was once extra as a mover and shaker and salonière that she made her identify. She boasted that Picasso and Dalí have been pals and actively cultivated the friendship of writers equivalent to Tennessee Williams, who outlined her as ‘wild just like the backyard of the realm earlier than the creation’. Her hospitality was once no longer ceremonious yet easy and secure. In her seventh-floor studio, which she dubbed ‘the 7th heaven’, she provided neighborhood Roman produce and flasks of Frascati from the within sight hills to whoever referred to as on her,regardless of whether or not they have been princes or paupers. Photogenic and fascinating, Parigini was once on the centre of a thrilling and experimental set, the one-woman animator of a complete cool scene. In later years Parigini might declare to have invented the Roman dolce vita single-handedly. definitely she inspired a kind of Bohemian café society that was once easy-going and joyous. movie stars, dissolute nobles, aspiring actors and writers, lots of them overseas, shaped a part of her circle. along with her impish demeanour and information of languages, she charmed those that another way struggled to discover a spot in Roman society. She had a specific flavor for Hollywood actors and loved flings with George Raft, Errol Flynn and Gary Cooper between others.