Anna Fallarino was one of the first Italian women to get breast implants, an operation still completely unheard of at the time. The more important discovery the commissioner made, however, was Camillo Casati’s diary. “It was in the desk of the study where the crime took place. It was a diary the size of a file folder, bound in green leather, and written in Casati’s neat handwriting. It was an important discovery; together with the photographs it allowed us to reconstruct the events leading up to the crime, and thus to explain what had happened. But it was also a delicate discovery, something to be handled tactfully because of the names it contained and the details of certain accounts that were a good deal more lurid than the versions published in the newspapers.” With an almost maniacal precision and richness of detail the marquis chronicled his wife’s sexual encounters with workmen, soldiers, lifeguards an waiters, encounters he himself had arranged and sometimes paid for. This behavior began the very day they were married, right in the hotel where they spent their wedding night.
When a waiter brought champagne to their room, the marquis left the door to the bathroom where Anna was showering ajar. At first the man didn’t understand what was happening, but then he caught on an went in. That was the nature of their relationship from that night on, for eleven years. “Today Anna made love with a lad so effectively that even at a distance I could share in the joy.”. “Today Anna met an airman. He was young and exceedingly handsome. It was a fantastic encounter. Anna was happy and participated with great intensity.”. “We went to the beach at Fiumicino, and a lot of men were looking at her. Together we chose a young man. He was fulfilling, and we paid him”. “We were super-nude at Fiumicino. Anna was beautifully laid out, relaxing. Later a new airman passed by … totally divine”. “I liked it when you’re in bed with someone else, I feel like I love you even more”. “Today Anna made love to a soldier. It cost me 30.000 lire but it was worth it.”. In addition to the diary, investigators found dozens, even hundreds of photographs that showed Anna nude, sometimes in poses meant to be artistic, sometimes just obscene, but always focused on details you might easily guess.
Camillo’s particular mental process, quite simple and not so uncommon, was explained this way by the psychiatrist Emilio Servadio: “It’s called voyeurism, and it’s the desire to be a witness, to look on, to observe. An accentuation, in other words, of what a famous American scholar called the “the visual stimulus. It’s a phenomenon that develops early, because there children who, at a certain age, develop a curiosity that resolves itself in the need to see, to know, to watch. If this tendency is not overcome in their psycho-sexual development it can remain an important part of the adult’s sexuality and the adult will then exhibit a morbid desire to watch other peoples’s sexual activities. These individuals, professor Servadio continued, also have a heightened inclination toward masochism, especially the type called “moral masochism”. But are we sure there is nothing more than this? One thing is to watch other people sexual activity, another thing is to watch your wife’s sexual activity and then declare, as Camillo did in his diary: “I liked it when you’re in bed with someone else, I feel like I love you even more”.
Even with this psychological explanation, we might ask why this man, who for eleven years had fed his habit with such evident satisfaction, so suddenly rebelled against a situation he’d created for his own pleasure. Servadio’s answer to this was: “the key to the puzzle, and for me the solution to this case, is this: the masochist, contrary to what we may think, is not an individual who allows himself to be mistreated ad libitum, at the mercy of someone else’s whims and desires. The masochist is always the director, always in control of the situation. Let’s trace the term back to its roots. Leopold Von Sacher Masoch, who gave this perversion its name, wrote to his love, Wanda Von Dunajew: “ I am coming to you at that hour. You will be dressed in a pair of high, black boots, and you will have a whip. You will say to me: “ Kneel, slave, because I am your queen.”. He wrote it, so he was in charge of the script. If at any point his partner forgot her role and didn’t whip him enough, Masoch would react horribly. That’s what he did, in effect, when he tried to strangle his wife upon finding her in a situation he hadn’t planned.
It was something new in the routine that finally broke the pattern of behavior the Casati had created. After 10 years of taking men to please her husband, Anna –perhaps even a sign of her love for the Marquis – for the first time chose a partner on her own, and then probably fell in love with him. She didn’t just copulate with Massimo Minorenti, as she had with others, she made love to him. They had met at a party and begun seeing one another. One afternoon they went together to a hotel in the area around the Viale Liegi, in the Parioli neighborhood. These were brief meetings and were Anna’s first in secret after all the men she’d had in front of her husband.
If it’s easier to clarify Camillo’s motivations, Anna’s are much more difficult to explain. Why did she play such a game, right from the first night they were married? Was there some explicit agreement between them or did they understand one another without a need for words? If he was a voyeur, was she, in the clinical sense, and exhibitionist? We don’t know the answers to these questions and Professor Servadio’s opinion here seems more debatable. “It seems evident to me that it also gave the woman pleasure, in addition to the social and economic advantages she gained by allowing her husband to use her like that. Furthermore, it’s been shown that the same masochistic or sadistic components are more common in women than in men. Thus it’s entirely possible that she took direct pleasure from the turbid, abnormal situations her husband placed her in. Let’s take the fact that she was photographed nude, in lascivious poses: this is a part of that disposition to perversion which women are more prone to than men”. JX9TCPYDDJUZ
If it was a matter of social and economic advantages, Anna had already guaranteed them by marrying the marquis. His first wife’s settlement was substantial, and hers could have been even bigger; a mutual break up wasn’t in the marquis’ best interest. On the other hand, ther are testimonies of the 2 servants, Felice and Oliviera, that mentioned they heard the couple fighting and yelling, saw Anna crying and heard her, at least once, vent. On that occasion she transformed from the marquise back into the poor girl she was before the marriage, exclaiming: “It’d be better to eat onions and bread and live like a bum where I came from than to accept the rules of this corrupt world, full of people who make me sick. If this continues, one day or another I’ll toss it all to the wind and go back home”.
This was one aspect of Anna’s personality and the tone of the whole affair. The other, almost diametrically opposed aspect, belonged to the woman who allowed herself to be photographed nude hundreds of times –in such immodest poses – and to be had dozens of times by the first stranger who passed by. How could she have done all that if she didn’t also have some natural propensity for such erotic games or, more crudely, such perversions? Perhaps, though, she did it because she nursed some kind of bottomless unhappiness deep down.
Speaking of perversions, Freud had an opinion that gives us something to think about: “The omnipotence of love” he wrote “never reveals itself as strongly as it does in its own aberrations”. It’s precisely this “omnipotence” that makes such a high toll because it manifests itself “by transforming the beloved into an object”. He believes, and perhaps he is right, that a “pervert” is simply someone who acts on what people only fantasize about. But this is exactly the difference and, if true, also the premise of this tragedy: perversion is governed by its own precise rules , one of which is the objectification of the loved one. At the very instant Anna began to choose and decide on her own, abandoning her role of the “object”, she broke the rules, and the tragedy was set into motion.
Anna wrote to Massimo from the island of Zannone: “I’m really sad. Usually I really love this island, but this year I hate it … I think a note from you would make me happy. If you can, type the envelope and put the return address as Sartoria Botti (my dressmaker), Corso Italia 21, Rome. Now I need to leave you, Camillo is coming back in. I send you a big hug, your Anna. “When she was taken on the sand of Fiumicino in front of her husband, Anna was complicit in a ribald game. Here, instead, we have a classic “betrayal”, the woman acting like an archetypal Emma Bovary. This happened in the spring of 1970. A few days later she wrote again: “My only love, I am writing while Camillo is sitting comfortably in his armchair listening to the radio. What can I tell you more than I adore you so, so, so much.? I think with such excitement about the time we can be together again, we two alone for a week or even just a day, all to ourselves. Bye, my great love”.
At the same time, or shortly afterward, Camillo realized what was happening and noted, bitterly in his diary: “What a delusion. I wish I were dead and buried. How disgusting, how nasty. It makes me sick; that’s what Anna gave me, sickness. Really, losing her head for a young man as absolutely insignificant as Massimo, who, if he didn’t have such nice hair as a disguise, would be totally nobody.” A nobody or not, Massimo was a handsome lad, part loafer, part playboy, he was a political science student who hadn’t taken a single exam. Though, he had some luck with the ladies, as is proven by the relationship he had with Lola Falana, an Afro-Italian dancer who had a fair amount of success on television. It seems his ambition was to open a car dealership or, maybe, a nightclub. But by breaking the rules of the game also took a risk. He certainly would have been more careful had he not also been so emotionally involved.
Anna essentially tried to beat her husband at his own game. She didn’t hide her affair with Massimo and hoped, instead, to pass it off as a variation on their activities. She didn’t allow him to watch when they made love, but told him about it. Since he couldn’t expect traditional faithfulness from his wife, Camillo at least expected her to be faithful to their rules, and give him a detailed report of her encounters. He wrote in his diary: “Anna has completely failed me, but my illness binds me to her. I can’t sleep, even though I want so much. I can’t take this situation anymore. I really want to leave her, but I can’t do it. I’m slowly dying on the inside; I’v elost everything … I can’t take this anymore”.
She was aware of how depressed Camillo was, and saw the rancor pent up inside him. Perhaps to approach him, or to distance what she felt as a threat, she agreed to go with him to Fiumicino on August 26, 4 days before the end and have sex in front of him with a passing soldier. On Saturday, August 29, the marquis was in Valdagno, guest of his friends Marzotto. He called home several times to speak with Anna. She told him she was having dinner with Massimo and another 3 friends. During the last call, at midnight, she admitted they’d all left except Massimo and his friend Aurelio. Camillo suspected that the former would spend the night with his wife, and he threatened to return to Rome and kill them. The three guessed that Camillo was about to break. The marquis seemed beside himself.; on the telephone he intimated they should leave the house, called Massimo a pimp and set a date with his wife for the following day, saying he needed an explanation. But Anna, now terrified, wrote Camillo a note of near surrender: “Please forgive me if I’ve made a mistake: I promise to break it off immediately with Massimo and come back to you as before.” A servant was responsible for delivering it to the marquis as soon as he set foot in the house.
That was at six thirty on Sunday afternoon. A servant called Anna from the house on Via Puccini and told her the marquis had returned and was waiting for her and Massimo as they had agreed. Hesitating, she asked to speak directly with her husband. He seemed calm on the phone and reassured her by saying he only wanted to clarify the situation. While Anna and Massimo made their final plans with two friends who would go with them to the apartment, Camillo called his butler and ordered him to admit his wife and her companion, then close the door and not disturb them any reason whatsoever.
At about seven Anna and Massimo arrived at Via Puccini (click here to see Via Puccini n.9 on Google Street view), Massimo’s friend followed them in another car. Meanwhile Camillo was sitting at his desk writing this note: “I die because I can’t stand that you love another man. I need to do what I am doing. Forgive me. And come sometimes to visit me. He put the note in an envelope and wrote “Anna” on it. We don’t know how the tragedy’s prologue played out, but it was brief. If Camillo was thinking about killing himself, perhaps in front of Anna and her lover as his last note suggests, he quickly changed his mind. Maybe it was rage that blinded him, or perhaps the words they exchanged inn the quiet of the den convinced him that Anna had lied, that nothing could be as before, that he had definitively lost. The first bullets were for his wife. Massimo tried to flee, running to leave the room. A bullet struck him in the back, and either right before or immediately afterward he tried to use a little table as a shield. The second bullet, however, hit him directly in the head. Wedging the butt of the rifle against the back of an armchair, he put the barrel against his throat and pulled the trigger. The two friends waiting in the street heard the shots and the sound of breaking glass, and decided to go up and ring the doorbell, but the butler couldn’t be convinced to do anything. Only after they insisted did he finally decide to open the door.
We already know what they saw inside: the final act of a tragic love story.