Is Netflix’s Vatican Girl Based on a True Story? Real-life Events Explained

Dizajn bez naslova 21

Vatican Girl: The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi is Netflix’s true crime documentary series that follows a story of a girl who went missing 37 years ago in the Vatican. The story is relatively original and not something we have seen in a while, so many people were wondering, is Netflix’s Vatican Girl based on a true story? In this article, we will explain the real-life events behind this story.

Vatican Girl is based on a true story. The show depicts a story of a 15-year-old girl Emanuela Orlandi who went missing in the Vatican on June 22, 1983, under mysterious circumstances. Her disappearance remains unsolved to this day. 

When Emanuela was reported missing, the investigation started immediately. Over the years, many sources have reported sightings of her but to no avail. There have been many theories about what is behind this disappearance, and the case became famously known as ‘Italy’s most famous mystery.’ Let’s see what exactly happened. 

The disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi: Real-life events explained

Emanuela Orlandi was a daughter of a Vatican clerk. Her father’s name was Ercole and her mother’s Maria. Her father was responsible for organizing papal audiences at the time. She was the fourth child in a family of five children.

Emanuela attended flute lessons several times a week. On June 22, 1983, she left her home and went to the Sant’Apollinare complex in Rome for a flute lesson. On the day of her disappearance, she was running late for a flute lesson because apparently, a man in BMW stopped her on the street and offered her a job as an AVON representative.


Is Notre Dame Based on a True Story? Big Paris Fire Explained

Once she arrived at the lesson, she was distracted and asked to leave early. She also phoned her sister and told her about the alleged job offer. Her sister advised her that she should talk with their parents. On her way home, she was at the bus station, where she also talked with her friends about the job offer. Then she took the bus, where her friends saw her talking to a red-haired woman.

That day, Emanuela never returned home. Her parents contacted the school, her friends, and the police. The police suggested that they should wait as she might return. But she never did so. On the evening of June 22, 1983, she was declared a missing person. After the report of her disappearance, Emanuela’s photographs were published in many Italian newspapers, and her case immediately became very popular with the public eye.

074105537 10a3765b d85d 418c ad95 293f990278d3

Next was a series of phone calls with tips about their daughter’s whereabouts. A man, Pierluigi, claimed that his girlfriend saw a girl matching Emanuela’s description playing the flute in the Campo Dei Fiori, calling herself Barbara, and selling cosmetics. Another man, Mario, called and told a similar story. What followed was hundreds of prank calls that also provided no valuable information whatsoever.

There were various theories regarding the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi

On July 3, 1983, Pope John Paul II pleaded for her return and asked her kidnappers that they release her. It was interesting because, at that point, a matter of abduction was brought up to the public for the first time. After that event, numerous phone calls started coming, and a web of theories began to build.

According to one theory, Emanuela was supposedly the prisoner of a terrorist group that demanded that Mehmet Ali Ağca, a man who shot the Pope in 1981, is to be released from prison. It was considered that Emanuela would be released if Ali was released from prison. Also, a man identified as “L’Americano” called and played a recording of Emanuela’s voice over the phone. Later, another phone call to the Vatican followed, and “L’Americano” suggested an exchange of Orlandi for Ağca.

Another theory stated that Emanuela was the victim of a satanic sexual orgy organized by priests in the Vatican. According to one of the Vatican’s exorcists, Gabriele Amorth, various parties of that sort were organized, and many people were involved in that, including various diplomatic personnel, the police, and priests. In 2017, it was published that a document had been stolen from the Vatican and that it showed how the Church knew where Emanuela was and that they had been paying her expenses for years.


100 Best True Crime Podcasts of All Time

In 2005, the police got an anonymous tip that Orlandi was buried with Enrico De Pedis, a legendary gangster that was killed in 1990. The interesting thing was that De Pedis was buried at the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare, not the usual place to bury a gangster. He was buried there because he prevented other mafia lords from attacking the Church because of the large amount of money that was lent to it, but the Church never returned. In 2012, De Pedis’s grave was exhumed, but Emanuela’s remains were not found there.

The mystery regarding the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi has never been resolved. The show’s director, Mark Lewis, decided to adapt this intriguing and mysterious story into a true-crime documentary series. You can watch Vatican Girl: The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, starting October 20, only on Netflix.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments