EPISODE 34 The Magliana Gang (Part 1)

“A lifetime serving one machine
Is ten times worse than prison” 

— The Clash (from the song Bankrobber)

“We were treated like movie stars with muscle. We had it all, just for the asking… Anything I wanted was a phone call away. Free cars. The keys to a dozen hideout flats all over the city…When I was broke I would go out and rob some more. We ran everything. We paid off cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking.” 
— From the movie Goodfellas

“Drugs are power”
— Antonio Mancini 

This series is about the rise of a street gang that took over Rome in the 1970s and 1980s. The Magliana gang was not just one of many criminal organisations who operated in Italy. Among their business partners, they counted Italy’s most important politicians, bankers, secret services, and possibly the Vatican itself. The gang left an indelible mark on Italian history. The story of their rise to power and of the heyday of their rule truly is stranger than fiction. It’s the kind of story that makes you think that the Godfather 3 perhaps was a documentary after all. There are lots of books and documentaries about this story but they are nearly all in Italian, so it looks like I’m your man if you wanna hear this story in English—or whatever approximation of English I speak. In this episode, we’ll see one of bloodiest gangsters in the late 20th century being buried among Cardinals; why law-abiding citizens are fascinated with gangsters; the genesis of the Banda della Magliana; the kidnapping of the Duke Massimiliano Grazioli Lante della Rovere; how the gang took over Rome; the gang becoming the liaison to the criminal underworld for Church and State; the story of The Years of Lead; Italian Prime Ministers being kidnapped by Communist guerrillas; the killing of Franchino Nicolini, and much more. 

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