Hands of madness

The tragic story of a child that found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The tragic story of a child that found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Coming to the highest part of the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno (Genova, Italy), you might come across a particular statue, different from all the others. It represents a child of about 5 years, running carefree behind his circle, while two hands of madness are about to grab him from behind and seal his fate.


It was the year 1925, and a child, baptized with a nationalist name Italo, as it was used at that time, was spending his days playing in the streets of Genova. His mother died during childbirth and he lived with his father, Donatello Iacomelli, who loved him more than anything in the world. Italo, lovingly Italino, was well known in the town and everybody adored him as if he was their own.

In the wrong place at the wrong time

On August 16, 1925, Italino decided to go down the street to play with his circle as usual. His father Donatello followed him with his eyes, although the danger in a world practically still without cars was almost nil.

The kid was playing carefree when his circle slammed against the legs of a strange man. In a town where everybody was like family, no one could sense the danger of the situation or predict what was going to happen. In just a few moments the man made an incredible gesture of madness. He took Italino in his arms and threw him down a 15-meter wall.

Italino`s father and the people around were shocked. But when the man started running the furious crowd stopped him. They would have lynched him if the police hadn`t arrived soon after that. The man and Italino were hospitalized in the same hospital, but the fate of the two was very different: the man survived, while Italino died because of the the injuries.

It was later discovered that the man, named Ludovico, was showing signs of mental instability already before the tragic event with Italino. He came to the police the previous day, stating that he had thrown a child down a wall. The occurrence never actually happened at the time, so the police released him.

Always remembered

Italino`s funeral was very crowded and full of tears and pain for the torn life. His father had a tomb set up by the Genoese sculptor Adolfo Lucarini, representing his child doing what he loved most and two hands of madness coming out of the cold earth behind him.

And although today the tomb is off the beaten track in the cemetery and therefore not visited much, the memory of Italino, that child so full of life, is still alive, even almost a century later.

Destiny symbols

The sculpture on Italino`s grave is a typical example of a destiny symbol. A symbol that reveals the particular tragic end of a life path. At PobreĹžje Cemetery in Maribor (Slovenia) you can find a whole trail of such graves. Are there any destiny symbols at your local cemetery? Contact us and tell us about them.

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