Emanuela Orlandi: Vatican mystery of schoolgirl missing since 1983

For 38 years the Orlandi family has sought answers to one of Italy's greatest mysteries.

A sit-in will take place in Rome this evening near St Peter's Square, 38 years after the 15-year-old schoolgirl Emanuela Orlandi disappeared without a trace while returning to her family home in Vatican City.

The protest has been organised by Emanuela's brother Pietro Orlandi, who has been seeking answers about his sister's whereabouts ever since she went missing on 22 June 1983.

The daughter of an employee at the Vatican Bank, Orlandi vanished as she was on her way home to the Vatican after a flute lesson at her music school in Rome.

Over the decades there have been numerous false leads relating to Orlandi's mysterious disappearance but they have always come to a dead end.

Missing posters for Emanuela Orlandi in Rome, 1983

In 2019 the Vatican opened two tombs in the Teutonic Cemetery, adjacent to St Peter's, following an anonymous tip-off received by the family of the missing girl.

However the tombs, which were supposed to house the remains of two 19th-century princesses, were found to be empty, adding further mystery to a case that has enthralled Italian for decades.

In 2018 human remains found underneath the Vatican nunciature to Italy, in Rome's Parioli district, sparked speculation that Orlandi might have finally been found. But DNA testing revealed that the bones belonged to a man who died sometime between the years 90 and 230 AD.

The unsolved case has sparked conspiracy theories ranging from kidnap by a terrorist group demanding the release of Mehmet Ali Ağca, the Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square in 1981, to the involvement of the Banda della Magliana, Rome’s notorious criminal gang founded in the 1970s.

One of the theories was that Orlandi was buried alongside Roman mobster Enrico De Pedis in the Basilica di S. Apollinare near Piazza Navona. However when his tomb was opened in 2012 there were no clues found.

Over the years there have also been numerous alleged sightings of the missing girl but all have been unreliable. The mystery continues.


This evening's sit-in, led by Pietro Orlandi, will take place in Largo Giovanni XXIII from 18.00 to 20.00.

General Info

Address Largo Giovanni XXIII, 00193 Roma RM, Italy

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Emanuela Orlandi: Vatican mystery of schoolgirl missing since 1983

Largo Giovanni XXIII, 00193 Roma RM, Italy