I suppose, in the eyes of many, that’s a good way to go.
Most obituaries are pretty dry and down the line, but that’s not the case with Maurizio ‘Zanza’ Zanfanti, the man with the questionable mullet above.
The Telegraph’s obituary of the man they call the “legendary playboy from Rimini”, a town in northern Italy, is all action right from the start.
Consider their opening line:
Maurizio “Zanza” Zanfanti, who has died aged 62 while in flagrante, was the most famous Latin lover of the package holiday boom in Italy, of which the epicentre was his home town Rimini.
‘In flagrante’ means “in the very act of wrongdoing, especially in an act of sexual misconduct”, if you were lost on that front.
On with the obit:
In his prime, women queued up to be seduced by him and according to legend he slept with thousands of them.
He died of a heart attack at around two in the morning in his Mitsubishi Pajero 4×4, parked in a small peach grove owned by his family, seconds after making love with a 25-year-old Romanian woman, who raised the alarm.
I like the detail about the peach grove. Seems somewhat unnecessary, given that it’s the salacious details that tend to intrigue. Then again, he was parked in said grove when his ticker booked out, so perhaps it is important.
The obit details his upbringing in a poor family, before he left school at the age of 16 and started working at a notorious discotheque called Blow Up:
The work paid him a pittance, but gave him carte blanche to accost young women at will and engage them in conversation.
His rise to fame as a seaside end-of-the-pier version of Casanova was as rapid as the rise to fame of Rimini as a citadel of hedonism.
So effective was he that he quickly earned the nickname “Zanza”, short for zanzara – the Italian word for mosquito.
A mosquito is a pest, and it sounds like Zanza was, too. Still, he became famous for his sexual endeavours:
Such was his status as a serial seducer of the tourists from northern Europe who flocked to the Adriatic in the 1970s and 1980s in search of sun, sea and sex that he was often front-page news in Germany and Scandinavia.
In 1984 the German tabloid Bild dedicated two pages to him, calling him the “Sex Bomber Der Nation”. A pop song he and staff at Blow Up made reached No 2 in the Swedish charts.
Short and swarthy, he had dense caveman-style hair which he dyed golden brown. He wore his shirts unbuttoned to the waist or, better still, just a skimpy leather waistcoat, to display to full advantage his chunky gold chains, tanned torso and hairy chest. He invariably wore platform heels and had a fondness for tight leather trousers.
How many women, you ask? Well, in his ‘prime’, Zanza says he was sleeping with around 200 women during a three-month summer season, “rising to four a day in the infernal heat of August”:
He knew how many there were because he recorded each one, with brief details, in notebooks which rapidly filled up and had to be replaced. But he always refused to reveal the grand total, which is reckoned to be 6,000.
“They were nearly all foreign women,” he said. “The Italians had to make do with my brother.”
Unfortunately for Zanza, who his friends claim was “a romantic at heart”, AIDS arrived on the scene and curtailed his activities. In 1988, he suffered the horror of only bedding 120 women during what he called “a lean summer”.
Zanza never married and is suspected of fathering nine children, who are dotted around Scandinavia and Germany. Nine? I can almost hear Jacob Zuma’s laugh from here.
Rest in peace, mosquito.
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