Google Street View Snap Shows Sicilian Mafia Fugitive Missing For 20 Years
A Sicilian mafia ‘godfather’ who had been on the run for 20 years, Gioacchino Gammino’s first and stunned words when he was arrested in the commuter town of Galapagar were, “How on earth did you find me?”
The Google Map picture led to police tracing Gioacchino Gammino, 61, who escaped prison in Rome in 2002 and was living as ‘Manuel’ in Galapagar, Madrid. In 2002, the then leader of the notorious Sicilian mafia known as the Cosa Nostra was facing a life sentence for murder, but a ‘prison break’ in Rome led to his disappearance almost immediately after he had been convicted. Italian police thought they had traced him to Galapagar, in the Greater Madrid region, but once they had identified the probable town, the trail had gone cold. It was some unlikely ‘detective’ work by Spain’s National Police that led to Gioacchino’s capture.
As a professional criminal with an extensive box of tricks, this successful needle-in-a-haystack search surpassed even Gioacchino’s skills.
Remarkable Venue Award For Benalmádena Butterfly Park
Watching new births every single day, see courting dances and vibrant colours are part of a standard visit to a Costa del Sol theme park that has just been chosen for a Remarkable Venue Award.
The Mariposario, ‘Butterflyarium’ or Butterfly Park in Benalmádena has been named one of Spain›s top attractions over 2021 via public vote on the holiday and excursion booking site, Tiquet. Benalmádena is already home to the largest concentration of leisure and tourism attractions on the Málaga-province coast, according to mayor Víctor Navas, and one of these having been picked out for a Remarkable Venue Award has made the town very proud, he says. Visitors nominated the Mariposario, before an international panel of judges specialising in tourism to validate their opinion.
For nature-lovers, Benalmádena’s Mariposario is a privilege and a delight where they can see over 150 different species of butterflies from all over the world, particularly from the tropics. Typically, there are at least 1,500 of these colourful creatures in residence, of varying sizes – some very tiny, but others with a wing-span of several inches. Sadly, butterflies only have a life expectancy of about two to three weeks, but during that time they breed actively, meaning visitors will almost certainly see new ones born, chrysalises forming, resting and opening as caterpillars go through their transformation, eggs, and the courting dance as butterflies pair up to reproduce.
As a result of their short lives, the population of the Mariposario is constantly being renewed and visitors can see different ones each time they drop in. Butterflies at the park live in natural surroundings, designed to match their default habitats and fly around loose, so close-up pictures of the creatures, even on your hands and photos of colourful clusters in flight are very likely.
Badger Finds Spain’s ‘Biggest-Ever’ Stash Of Roman Coins
Probably the largest haul of Roman coins ever unearthed in Spain, the finder of an Ancient treasure trove in Asturias was not even human, historians say. Studies have just concluded on a collection of 209 coins, which are thought to have come from at least three different countries and their use spanning over 200 years.
Discovered in the La Cuesta cave in Berció, near Grado, in the northern coastal region in April last year, the coins date back to between the third and fifth centuries CE (AD). Archaeologists, who were called out when local resident Roberto García stumbled upon this historic gem in the open air whilst out walking, have said some bear the mark of a mint in London and in Antioch, to the south of central Turkey in the Hatay province, which was under Greek rule.
It was not unusual for Spain’s Roman inhabitants to bury large stashes of money and valuables when the Germanic Suebi tribes invaded the country from around the year 409 AD, in order to keep it safe from being plundered – but, given that such coin and treasure deposits are now being dug up in the 21st century, clearly their owners never went back for them. This is thought to be the case with the La Cuesta cave hoard and as the grotto is located deep in the banks of the river Nalón, it would have been a safe hiding place, except if badgers were on the prowl, searching for elusive food sources!
This time last year, Spain was buried in blankets and quilts as ‘Storm Filomena’ turned large swathes of the mainland into a tundra, motorways were only accessible on foot – with sturdy shoes, ski poles and spades – and even on the Mediterranean and south coasts, daytime temperatures were dropping into low single figures. Badgers live on berries, worms and other creepy-crawlies, which would have been hard to find in one of the coldest parts of the country during the coldest part of 2021, so avoiding starvation would have involved some serious and deep digging.
As for how the archaeologists know it was a badger who excavated the coins, they were apparently right next to a sett, with scrape-marks and disturbed earth and some of them were actually inside the burrow itself.
It is likely the creature tried to take them ‘home’ to see if they would do for ‘lunch’ and discarded them when he or she found they were not edible. Humans then came across them, after scrambling down a steep, clay-soil bank in the depths of a forest in April, about three months after ‘Storm Filomena’ had moved on to ravage another part of the planet.
It was not until now that their true value was known and they have been studied, dated and catalogued. It has been confirmed as one of the largest hauls to date ever found in the country. Historians believe the 209 coins the badger ‘found’ are just the tip of the iceberg given that their theory centres on the animal’s having dug into the bottom of a hidden money-pit that was originally hollowed out on dry land.
It’s only taken 1,600 years, but the money stash hidden from invaders by Asturias’ Roman residents has now seen daylight again. Probably the owner returned for the coins, or the Suebi tribes found them and took what they could find easily below the immediate surface of the forest floor, with the rest falling through cracks in the pliable, porous soil. The badger then burrowed through from the opposite end, a long way down the cliff-face, uncovering those at the bottom of the shaft that had become lost.