ITALY: The Montesi Affair

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Anna Maria Caglio is an aristocrat, the kind of girl whom Via Véneto doormen automatically salute. Daughter of a well-to-do Milan attorney, she was educated in prim Swiss schools, went to Rome when she was 20, hoping to break into the theater or the movies. She had little success, but she became a part of the highest-living, fastest-traveling Roman set. The most dashing of them all was the Marchese Ugo Montagna. Soon Anna Maria was his acknowledged mistress, accepting an $800-a-month allowance and living with him openly. But last summer Ugo threw her over. La Caglio began to go to church, then retired to a Florence convent. Later, urged by her conscience and her confessor, she decided to tell all.

First Suspicion. In a cool, well-modulated voice, she explained that two days before Wilma's death, Ugo ordered her to go back to Milan. "When I asked him why, he said that he had a hunting date in Capocotto with Piero Piccioni." Three days later she returned to Rome, and she and Ugo drove down to the hunting lodge. There the gamekeeper's wife remarked that she had seen Wilma's body and was surprised that it was not swollen or battered. Anna Maria Caglio felt a sudden suspicion. She thought back to a time three months earlier when she had followed Ugo and another woman in a car. From the news pictures she was now sure that the woman had been Wilma Montesi.

Her suspicion grew. When she mentioned Wilma's death, "Ugo became simply furious and told me I knew too much, and I had better go away." Later, young Piccioni telephoned Ugo during dinner. "Montagna told me he had to go to the chief of police to hush up the affair, since they were trying to link Piero Piccioni with the death of Wilma Montesi. Ugo drove me to the police headquarters [where Tommaso Pavone, chief of the national police, had his office], and a few minutes later Piccioni arrived. They finally went inside and stayed more than an hour." On their return, said La Caglio, Piccioni "seemed ruffled," but Montagna told him, "Now everything's fixed up."

In her six hours on the stand, La Caglio told of once going to Piccioni's house with Montagna, who left several packages. "Montagna said it was money." She also declared that Montagna had procured an apartment for Chief of Police Pavone.

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