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April 02, 2022
Gizzeria is a small picturesque town in the Calabria region in the south of Italy. It is often referred to as a commune with a population of just under 5000 residents. Gizzeria was also, unfortunately, home to a particularly evil man who we’re going to talk about today.
Reader discretion is advised - mentions of torture and rape.
On the 21st of November 2017 a Carabinieri officer pulled over a citizen as part of a routine traffic. The car, which looked to be in pretty bad shape, belonged to a 52 year old man named Aloisio Francesco Rosario Giordano, who was accompanied by a young child.
The child was in slumber across the back seat of the vehicle and appeared to be so dirty and unkempt that the concerned officer insisted on making a welfare check at the boy’s home. He demanded to check on the child’s mother who he suspected might be in a similar state.
There was no way that the officers performing the check could have prepared themselves for the horrific conditions that they were about to experience. Sadly the deplorable conditions that I’m about to describe are not the most disturbing part of the story.
They discovered a cramped cellar devoid of light, electricity and running water. In a video the Carabinieri officers wade through the darkness, beams from their torch lights cut across the room to illuminate mounds of trash and debris. A stained make-shift toilet fashioned from an old wooden chair and bucket sits against the wall, rotten furniture and rusted bins containing expired food are briefly examined.
The walls and ceiling are rusted and rotten with mold spreading out into dark puddles; pieces of the structure rain down at the slightest touch.
Sheets of cardboard cut offs which were being used as beds lean against the rusted corrugated iron wall.
The space looks uninhabited, abandoned and derelict- unfortunately it was very much inhabited, and was home to two young children (a girl, 3, and a boy, 9) and their 29 year old Romanian mother who was found chained to a metal bar with her 3 year old daughter crying at her side wearing only a tank top.
The woman was malnourished and unkempt and had numerous wounds on her body which were so deep that they had been tied shut with fishing wire. Reports state that there was a significant amount of injuries to her breasts and genitals and investigators would later discover that she had not bathed for over a year.
Investigation would unravel the horrific ordeal the woman had suffered through for an entire decade.
In 2007, when she was just 19 years old, she had come to Italy as a carer for one of Giordano’s gravely ill relatives (some reports state she cared for his parents, others say it was his sick wife). When the ailing relative passed away Francesso Rosario Giordano promised the 19 year old continuing employment and accommodation to which she agreed. Instead, he forced her to live as his slave.
He routinely raped and abused her daily- a campaign of violence that would continue daily for the next 10 years. The abuse would get more and more brutal and depraved as time marched on. She revealed that she was forced to eat her own feces as well as expired food.
The woman never received any medical treatment for her injuries during her enslavement. The fishing wire holding together the deep gashes and lacerations on her body indicates that after Giordano had finished his daily beating sessions he would sew up the injuries himself and shut his victim in the rat infested cellar until the urge to abuse her returned.
The repeated rapes resulted in the birth of a baby boy around 2008. She delivered the child without any medical assistance and they survived in the squalid conditions together for a total of 9 years.
As the boy got older Giodaro would force him to partake in the abuse of his own mother. The boy, unlike his mother, was permitted to leave the cellar now and again in his father’s company to occasionally attend school.
Around 2014 the woman gave birth to a second child, this time a baby girl. Again she gave birth alone in the dark rat infested basement, the floor crawling with insects.
Even with the children present, Giordano had no issues continuing the rape and abuse of their mother in front of them, often including their son. The young boy would endure a beating session of his own if he were to resist participation.
Shockingly, 22 years earlier, in 1995, Giordano had been convicted of a very similar crime. His previous victim, a young woman named Maria Rosa, was kidnapped by him at the age of 23, just four years in age difference from his recent victim.
She too was impregnated by him 2 times after repeated rapes; however the children never made it to term as Giordano performed his own horrific DIY abortions- once by kicking Rosa in the stomach so she miscarried, and another time he apparently tied her up and performed an abortion using a scalpel and spoon. This article (in Italian) details sexual tortures he performed on the young woman.Rosa managed to escape her captor after enduring 4 years of enslavement and abuse after he forgot to lock the door.
After serving a 4 year prison sentence he was released on good behavior despite the violent nature and cruelty of his crimes.
Around 8 years later he kidnapped and enslaved the 19 year old.
In the 29 year old Romanian woman’s case it took a lot longer to be freed. Had it not been for the insistence of a welfare check by one persistent officer who was deeply concerned about the condition of the child Giodarno had in his back seat, the enslaved mother and her two children may never have been discovered. The woman had no way to connect to the outside world and was fortunately saved by a stroke of luck.
Francesso Rosario Giordano has earned the nickname of “The Italian Josef Fritzl” in the media, due to the similarities in both cases.
Fritzl enslaved his own daughter in a secret room in the family home where he repeatedly raped her for 24 years. She too bore his children and all were eventually freed in 2008.
The unnamed 29 year old Romanian woman and her two children are currently staying in a clandestine location.
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May 23, 2023