Leonarda Cianciulli was an Italian serial killer known as "Correggio's soap maker." She killed three women in the town of Correggio between 1939 and 1940. What was more dangerous than killing them was turning their bodies into soaps and cakes.
Leonarda Cianciulli was born in Montella, Avelino. She attempted suicide twice at an early age. In 1917, Cianciulli married Raffaele Pansardi.
Raffaele Pensardi worked as a clerk in the registry office.
Cianciulli's parents did not accept their marriage because they had a plan to marry her to someone else. Cianciulli's mother broke up with her. In 1921, the married couple moved to ,Lauria, Potenza To Pansardi's hometown, where Cianciulli was convicted of fraud in 1927 and imprisoned. When she was released, the couple moved to Lacedonia,Avellino not far from the hometown of Cianciulli.
On July 23, 1930, the Irpinia earthquake struck. (It was later considered one of the most devastating earthquakes in Italian history.)
Cianciulli was one of thousands of people who lost their homes in the disaster.
Incidents such as childhood suicide attempts, later a mother's resentment over a marriage of choice, three abortions, and later the death of ten children at a young age had a profound effect on Cianciulli's mind.
Cianciulli had seventeen pregnancies during her marriage, but three of them died before they were born. Another ten died in their youth. That's why she was so worried about the remaining four children. Behind her concern was the prediction of an astrologer who told her, "She will get married and have children. But they will all die young."
In addition, Cianciulli was told by another astrologer that she was destined for crime and punishment.
If Cianciulli were alive today, she would probably be suffering from depression.
But in the 1930s, a small town in southern Italy lacked the facilities to assess her mental health. As a result, she resorted to astrologers and palmists whose predictions added to her stress.
In 1939, Cianciulli learned that her eldest and dearest son, Giuseppe, was going to join the Italian army to fight in World War II. She wanted to stop him at all costs, but her son would not listen. Eventually, Cianciulli came to the conclusion that human sacrifices would have to be made to protect him. Cianciulli chose three women in her neighborhood to offer sacrifices.
The first victim of Cianciulli was "Faustina Setti". Faustina Setti was the lifelong spinster. Faustina Setti was looking for a good husband when she met Cianciulli.
Cianciulli told her about a suitable partner in Pola, but told her not to tell anyone. But before going to Pola, When she came to meet her,
Cianciulli mixed drugg in her wine, then killed her with an ax and dragged the body to a cell. There she cut the corpse into nine parts and mixed the blood in the basin.
According to the official statement of Cianciulli:
"I threw the pieces into a pot, and added seven kilos of caustic soda, which I bought to make soap, and kept stirring the mixture until it turned into a thick mixture.Then I poured the mixture into several buckets and emptied it into a nearby septic tank. As far as the blood in the basin is concerned, I waited until it froze, then dried it in the oven, then added flour, sugar, chocolate, milk and eggs, as well as a little margarine, kneading all the ingredients together. And i made a lot of tea cakes and served the women who came to see me. Although my son and I ate the same cake."
According to some reports
"Cianciulli also received 30,000 lire (Italian currency) from Faustina for its services."
On September 5, 1940, Cianciulli found another victim, Francesca Soavi. Like Faustina, Cianciulli assured Francesca that she had arranged a teaching job for her abroad, and asked her to write letters to friends about her new job and tell them the details. (Cianciulli did this so that no one would be surprised when her victim disappeared.) Cianciulli treated Francesca like Faustina, drugged her with alcohol and then killed her with an ax. Francesca's body was treated like Faustina's.
Cianciulli received 3,000 lire from Francesca.
Virginia Cacioppo proved to be the third and last victim of Cianciulli.
Virginia Cacioppo was a singer who also sang at Milan's famous La Scala Opera House. Cianciulli offered her the job of secretary of an entertainment manager in Florence. Like the first two women, Cianciulli kept her secret. On September 30, 1940
When Virginia came to visit her, like her two previous victims, Cianciulli drugged Virginia and killed her with an ax.
This time, however, Cianciulli made a cake from Virginia's corpse and also made soap.
Cianciulli distributed the cakes and soaps made from her body to her acquaintances. The cakes and soap were very good.
"Virginia was a lovely woman."
From Virginia, Cianciulli received 50,000 lire of various jewelry and public bonds.
Cianciulli even sold the clothes and shoes of all three of her victims.
Discovery and trial
Cianciulli also committed her third murder with great care, but she forgot that Virginia also has a sister who loves Virginia very much. Virginia's sister learns that the last time she went to see her sister, She was in Cianciulli's house. She reported the matter to the police. The police immediately arrested Cianciulli. During the initial police interrogation, Cianciulli expressed complete ignorance of everything. But later, when all the crimes were blamed on Cianciulli's son, Cianciulli confessed to all her crimes to save her son.
Cianciulli trial lasted only a few days. She was convicted of her crimes and sentenced to 33 years in prison. Surprisingly, the astrologer's prediction came true when he saw Cianciulli and said, "Look at the crimes in one hand and imprisonment in the other"
Cianciulli died of a mental illness on October 15, 1970, in the final years of her sentence. Her body was returned to her family for burial.
The weapons used by Cianciulli can still be found in glass cabins at the Criminology Museum in Italy.
In 1979, Lena Wertmuller, best known for her role in the Italian film "The Seduction of Mimi", made a play called Love & Magic in Mama's Kitchen. The play was based on the life of Cianciulli, which was exhibited at the Spoleto Festival.