Sicilian Robin Hood’s skeleton exhumed

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Palermo, Nov 2 (IANS/AKI) The skeleton exhumed from the tomb of one of Italy’s most legendary bandits, Salvatore Giuliano, is that of a person of shorter stature than Giuliano, said sources close to the coroner.

Giuliano gained fame among his fellow Sicilians during World War II when he led a group of bandits in stealing money for food and weapons, and became known as a kind of Robin Hood figure for allegedly aiding the poor with the takings from his banditry. He also belonged to a separatist movement.

According to members of his family and witnesses, Giuliano was at least 1.80 metres tall while the skeleton belongs to someone between 1.60-1.70 metres, the sources said.

Coroner Livio Milone has ordered police to “immediately check documents that record Salvatore Giuliano’s exact height”, according to the sources.

On Oct 28, investigators removed the human remains from Giuliano’s tomb in Montelepre near Palermo to gather evidence that will either fuel or put to rest the 60-year-old suspicion that the body inside doesn’t match the name on the sarcophagus.

Palermo prosecutors hope DNA tests can reveal if the body is Giuliano’s. If it is not, this will support claims by some historians and coroners that he managed to escape to the US, possibly with the help of the mafia.

Gaspare Pisciotta, a close Giuliano associate and friend claimed he shot his 27-year-old companion dead in his sleep July 5, 1950, contradicting the official version that he was killed by a paramilitary police captain in the western Sicilian town of Castelvetrano.

The classic 1962 film “Salvatore Giuliano” by director Francesco Rosi tells a version of his life in the neo-realist quasi-documentary style that uses many non-actors to tell the tale on screen.


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