The dark past of Italy's 'orgy island'

Zannone island near Rome was infamous for orgies in the 1960s.

Zannone, a small Italian island off the coast between Rome and Naples, was once a decadent destination for the rich and famous.

Part of the cluster of Pontine Islands, Zannone was leased from the Italian state by an eccentric Roman aristocrat and his actress wife in the 1960s.

Marquis Camillo Casati Stampa di Soncino - known to his friends as Camillino - and his wife Anna Fallarino presided over Zannone where they welcomed a steady flow of uninhibited visitors including celebrities, billionaires and members of Italian nobility.

The couple's villa, situated on the summit of the rugged 'red-light' island, was the scene of heavy drinking and wild parties, with orgies also taking place in surrounding bushes and on the beach below.

The villa allegedly had a 'hidden mirror room' where the marquis could spy on sex sessions, many of them involving his wife, who enjoyed swimming naked with guests.

Zannone. Photo courtesy Parco Circeo - Marco Buonocore.

However, on 30 August 1970, the parties at Zannone came to an abrupt and tragic end when the marquis - enraged with jealousy over his wife's young lover, student Massimo Minorenti - shot them both dead before turning his rifle on himself.

The double murder-suicide, which occurred in the couple's apartment on Via Puccini in Rome, brought to light the goings-on at Zannone, following the discovery of the Marquis' secret diary and a locked drawer of 1,500 'indecent' photographs of Fallarino.

Following the tragedy, the villa fell slowly into ruin and Zannone was once again inhabited only by the island's mouflon wild sheep, a protected species. In 1970, the island became part of the Circeo National Park.

Cover image: Anna Fallarino and Marquis Camillo Casati Stampa

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The dark past of Italy's 'orgy island'

Zannone, Italy