Italy marks 30th anniversary of Mafia bombings in Rome and Milan

Rome to hold torchlit procession between churches targeted in 1993 bombings by Sicilian mafia.

Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella on Thursday commemorated the 30th anniversary of the bombings by the Cosa Nostra mafia in Rome and Milan on the night between 27 and 28 July 1993.

“It was a challenge to our civil coexistence, an attempt to threaten and bend the democratic state, forcing it to reduce its efforts to combat crime and the severity of criminal sanctions” – Mattarella said – “It was a subversive plan that was defeated.”

On the night of 27 July 1993 a car bomb exploded in Milan on Via Palestro, near the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, killing five people and injuring 12.

A few hours later car bombs exploded in Rome, within 22 minutes of each other, at the Basilica di S. Giorgio al Velabro near the Circus Maximus and at the Basilica di S. Giovanni in Laterano.

The bombs injured 22 people and caused extensive structural damage to both churches.

The explosions were part of a bombing campaign by the Sicilian mafia which had warned of major attacks to avenge a series of setbacks, including the arrest in January that year of its boss Salvatore “Totò” Riina after 23 years on the run.

The bombings in Milan and Rome came two months after the Cosa Nostra outside the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, killing five people and injuring 48.

The blast caused major damage to the building as well as to a number of art works in the Uffizi collection.

Milan mayor Beppe Sala on Thursday commemorated the victims of the Via Palestro bombing, recalling that the attack “struck us to the heart but did not break us down”.

Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri marked the 30th anniversary of the bombing by unveiling a plaque at the church of S. Giorgio al Velabro, and the city will hold a torchlit procession tonight between the two churches targeted in the 1993 bombings.

The procession will leave S. Giovanni in Laterano just after midnight, at 00.04, before making its way to S. Giorgio al Velabro.

Cover image: Via Palestro, Milan, after the bombing in 1993. Photo ANSA.

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