Gianluca Casseri, 50, caused panic when he opened fire on a group of Senegalese street traders at a market in Piazza Dalmazia, on the northern outskirts of the city, killing two men and seriously wounding another.
He then jumped into a white car and drove off. Witnesses said the owner of a newspaper stall tried to block him but the gunman told him that unless he got out of the way he would be the next victim.
Casseri appeared a short time later at San Lorenzo market, in the centre of Florence, where he opened fire again with a large .357 Magnum hand gun, wounding two more Senegalese hawkers.
As dozens of armed police officers closed in, he then drove into an underground car park and turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the mouth as he sat in his Volkswagen Polo.
Police said Casseri, from the town of Pistoia in Tuscany, had links to a far-Right, anti-immigration movement called Casa Pound.
Founded in Rome in 2003, it has around 5,000 members across Italy and draws its inspiration from the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini.
Casseri was described by associates as a withdrawn, solitary figure who worked as an editor on a magazine specialising in fantasy and horror stories.
“I heard the shots but I thought they were fireworks. Then I turned around and I saw three men on the ground surrounded by blood,” said a vendor at the scene of the first shooting.
Florence and other large Italian cities host a shifting population of African street vendors who sell traditional handicrafts and fake designer handbags to tourists.
After the shootings, a group of around 200 Senegalese traders staged a demonstration, shouting “Racists!” and “Shame, shame”.
The mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, expressed solidarity with the immigrant community and said the city had been “shaken by the lone act of a crazed and pitiless killer.”
The three wounded men were being treated for chest and abdominal wounds in Florence’s Santa Maria Nuova hospital.
Η αγανάκτηση έχει αρχίσει και οδηγεί τους ανθρώπους στα άκρα...