Italian businessman Raphael Tunesi killed in Chiapas


Raphael Tunesi is a businessman of Italian origin who for years studied the Mayan culture. Here we tell you more about him after his murder this July 1 in Palenque, Chiapas, where he lived.

According to local media, Raphael Tunesi was the owner of the Quinta Chanabnal boutique hotel, he was also an epigrapher and an expert on the Mayan culture. He is also the author of the book El Arte Maya.

This was his last post on Facebook.

Raphael Tunesi was on his way to pick up his daughters at the Escriba School when he was ambushed by armed men who fired repeatedly, causing the victim to lose control of the car and crash.

Close to Lomas de Pakal Second Section paramedics arrived to help him, however, he died due to the seriousness of his injuries.

It is a crime that has no name. Tunesi had no problems with anyone, he was not in any bad ways, he was loved by the community, and an excellent citizen. He was a lover of culture. He could read the Mayan glyphs fluently, he also spoke cho’l as if it were his native language.”

Raphael’s friend

Raphael left Italy a few years ago and settled in Palenque, Chiapas, where he founded the Hotel Quinta Chanabnal.

Tunesi was an epigrapher and, for a long time, he dedicated himself to studying the inscriptions or ancient writings engraved in stone made during the splendor of the Mayan culture.

From each visit he made to archaeological ruins in any part of Mexico, he shared photographs or some curious fact, in addition, he was the author of several books in Italy about the Mayan culture and gave conferences.

According to his acquaintances, he was a polyglot, because, in addition to speaking the local indigenous language, he was fluent in Spanish, Italian, his mother tongue, and English.

He wrote for magazines specializing in epigraphy and art history.

Shortly before his death, he recalled that his interest in archeology was born at the age of five, and he illustrated the moment with a photograph.

Tunesi a los cinco años.

I like to tell people that my love for archeology started when I was 5 years old. Many look at me as if I were an invented story. Well, this is August 1986, on my second visit to the Tunis ruins. The year before, he had seen Carthage.”

Raphael’s Facebook


“It’s not fair that Chiapas paid him like this. The situation in which we live seized his life cunningly. I’m very sorry. I apologize to his wife and daughters for what Chiapas was able to do with such a good character. It hurts me.”

Herbert Castellanos

“You believed in Chiapas, you believed in Mexico and the Mayan culture and Palenque were your passion, that’s why you decided to live in Mayan land and invest in it. My deepest condolences to your family.”


“Friend Rafa, it is difficult to believe and accept that you have inadvertently left this world, it is difficult to accept because you were a very happy person, always on the lookout for your beautiful family.”

San Sebastian Vasquez

Te descuidas un segundo y … ¡Pies enchilados!

Post de Tunesi.

People who express their condolences mention Tunesi’s family, who was the father of three daughters and his wife is originally from Palenque.

In their social networks, in addition to archaeological remains, they were protagonists in photographs and texts.

Viaje de Tunesi y su hija mayor por Italia.

Recently, at the beginning of June, he showed off his last trip to Italy in the company of his eldest daughter. He posted scenery, food, and activities that he shared with her.

Like him, his family shared a taste for pre-Columbian culture, so they used to visit the Chiapas areas, they went to Teotihuacán, in the State of Mexico, as well as in other entities.

Viaje de Tunesi y su hija mayor por Italia.


In addition to agreeing that he was a very kind person, those who shared anecdotes or photographs of Raphael to remember him also demand justice for his death.

In 2016 he received me and the students of the Intercultural University of Chiapas with great joy, willingness and enthusiasm for the Mayan hieroglyphic writing workshop that we held in those lands, he always promised to receive us again with that joy that characterized him. May there be justice for him.”

Walter Paz Joj

Tunesi durante su juventud.

For his wife and daughters, my solidarity and my demand that his death not go unpunished and that justice be done.”


“Then Chiapas is forgiven so many moments of courage when she shows up on her beautiful side.”

Tunisian photography and text.

San Cristobal Post