Falcone and Borsellino and Mafia Victims Memorial - Atlas Obscura

Falcone and Borsellino and Mafia Victims Memorial

An image of two murdered magistrates became iconic and is reproduced in metal as a memorial on the Civitavecchia sea front. 


Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were Italian prosecuting magistrates who inflicted great harm on the Sicilian mafia and by way of revenge, an attempt to stop further harm and, probably, as an example to others, both were killed in separate explosions a few months apart in 1992. In Falcone’s case, the explosion was so great that it registered on the national earthquake monitoring system.

Such was the public outrage at these assassinations a photograph of the two colleagues in conversation, taken by Tony Gentile ( in 1992) became an iconic image and was used on T-shirts, posters, and even postage stamps over the years. The same image has been used to generate a memorial to these two brave men (and other victims of Mafia killings), which can now be seen on the seafront in Civitavecchia, Italy.

The form of the artwork is a series of vertical elongated metal pieces (in black) mounted on a stone plinth which when viewed close up, or not from directly in front, appear as a series of random shapes. When viewed from about 15 feet away, ideally from directly in front, the iconic image appears almost as if by magic.

Know Before You Go

If arriving in Civitavecchia by ferry and trying to drive to the area of the memorial do not use a satellite navigation system until you are well outside the port. It will take you about a mile to the south to a gate which you will not be allowed through. The guard will send you back to where you came from with loud shouts of "no navigation".

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December 12, 2023

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