Giovanni Falcone (1939-1992) was an Italian prosecutor who, together with his colleague Paolo Borsellino, dedicated his life to the fight against organized crime. Their work demonstrated to the world that far from being the glamorous, charismatic, fedora-wearing, Tommy Gun-wielding figures portrayed by Hollywood, mafia bosses are actually hugely powerful criminals who managed to gain almost complete control over the administration and economics of whole regions in Italy, from the North to the South, infiltrating politics up to the highest levels of Italy's political system, using assassinations, threats and corruptions to colonize the system from within. The work of people like Falcone and Borsellino resulted in huge blows to the Sicilian mafia, many of whose members were tried and condemned in the so-called "mega-trial" of 1986-1992. Nobody had ever done or has ever done as much as they did in the fight against organized crime.
However, both Falcone and Borsellino ultimately lost their lives in the fight against this "cancer of Italian society". Falcone was murdered by mafia on May 23, 1992: he was driving on the highway to Palermo when a massive explosion killed him, his wife Francesca Morvillo and the three men of his security detail, Antonio Montinaro, Rocco Dicillo and Vito Schifani. Paolo Borsellino was murdered on July 19 of the same year in an explosion that killed also five members of the Italian police: Agostino Catalano, Emanuela Loi, Vincenzo Li Muli, Walter Eddie Cosina and Claudio Traina.
Today, Falcone, Borsellino and the others who died fighting against mafia in those years are considered national heroes in Italy, and for people like me, who grew up in the 1990s and used to hear tragic stories about mafia on TV all the time when we were kids (I was 6 when Falcone and Borsellino were killed), people like them are symbols of the ultimate determination to fix what is wrong with our deeply troubled society.
Recently, Italian newspaper La Repubblica managed to get hold of one of Falcone's confidential notes from his investigations. In the notes, he wrote down the deposition of a mafia member who choose to collaborate with the authorities and explained some of the connections between mafia and influential politicians (see if you can spot the name of a very famous Italian Prime Minister, no less!). The note is, of course, written with a fountain pen Here it is for you to enjoy, in the neat, quick, practical and efficient handwriting of Mr Falcone:
Falcone was, in fact, an avid fountain pen collector. His colleagues recall that despite conducting a reclusive life due to security reasons, he endeavoured to try to find some time to visit a well-supplied pen shop in Palermo once in a while, taking time to test nibs and choose the latest arrivals. He would visit the shop right after closure time, giving a few minutes notice to the owner by phone. Police would block the street and secure access to the shop to give the prosecutor the possibility to access it for a quick visit. Falcone used to write a lot with FPs, as another prosecutor, Giuseppe Ayala, recalled a few years later. After Falcone was murdered, his sisters Anna and Rita gave one of his pens to his colleague and friend Paolo Borsellino as a present, to commemorate his fallen colleague. Borsellino was profoundly moved by the gesture, knowing how much fountain pens meant for Giovanni Falcone. Little did he know that less than two months later he would share Falcone's same, tragic destiny