Capaci bombing took place on this day 31 years ago.
Italy marks the 31st anniversary of the murder of the anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone who was assassinated by the Corleonesi mafia in a bombing in Sicily on 23 May 1992.
The explosion, known as the Capaci bombing, took place on the A29 motorway near Palermo airport as Falcone was on his way home after returning from Rome.
The devastating blast also killed Falcone’s wife, Francesca Movillo, and three police officers, Vito Schifani, Rocco Dicillo and Antonio Montinaro.
The assassination was orchestrated by notorious Cosa Nostra godfather Totò Riina, who allegedly toasted the judge’s death with champagne. Falcone was 53 when he was killed.
30 years ago, on 23 May 1992, Giovanni Falcone is assassinated, along with Francesca Morvillo, Vito Schifani, Rocco Dicillo and Antonio Montanaro. This thread tells the story of how he is undermined, isolated & abandoned to his destiny by the state he so loyally served >> 1 pic.twitter.com/sbtyUJkLxx
— Nicholas Whithorn (@NickWhithorn) May 22, 2022
The massive bomb, which consisted of 13 barrels filled with 500 kg of explosives, was placed in a tunnel under the motorway on 8 May.
The explosives were detonated by Giovanni Brusca, a ruthless mafia hitman known as “The Pig”, who was stationed in the hills above Capaci.
The killings resulted in a huge outpouring of public grief in Italy and parliament declared a day of mourning.
Thousands gathered in Palermo for the funerals which were broadcast live on national television.
Together with his friend, the fellow judge and prosecuting magistrate Paolo Borsellino, Falcone spent most of his distinguished professional career trying to overthrow the power of the Sicilian Mafia.
On 19 July 1992, Borsellino was killed by a car bomb on Via d’Amelio in Palermo, along with five police officers, Agostino Catalano, Walter Cosina, Emanuela Loi, Vincenzo Li Muli and Claudio Traina.
The mens’ deaths, just 57 days apart, resulted in a major crackdown against the Sicilian Mafia and led to the 1993 arrest of Riina, who died in jail in 2017.
Matteo Messina Denaro, who was arrested earlier this year after 30 years on the run, was tried and sentenced to life in jail in absentia in 2002 over his role in the killing of Falcone and Borsellino.
Last year Italy marked the 30th anniversary of the murders of the two anti-Mafia judges by issuing a special €2 coin in their honour.
Commemorative events will take place across Italy on 23 May, with state broadcaster RAI marking the anniversary by devoting numerous programmes to the fight against the Mafia.