Gilberto Cavallini, 67, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR), was convicted for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack in the north-eastern city of Bologna.
On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station's waiting room, killing 85 people and injuring more than 200.
A damaged train compartment after the Bologna railway bombing. Photo: AFP
From the 1960s to the start of the 1980s, Italy was hit by more than 12,000 attacks in which 362 people died. The most notorious act was the kidnapping and assassination of former prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978.
The attacks, aimed at destabilising the government in Rome within the context of the Cold War, were blamed on far-left groups and in other cases, such as in Bologna, on far-right militants.
Cavallini, who has confessed to a number of crimes including robberies and murder, has already spent 37 years in prison and was on day release, Italian media reported.
But he has said he is innocent of involvement in the Bologna attack.
“I'm in prison since September 1983, that's more than 37 years. These are years in prison that I deserve… I deserve the convictions, but I don't accept having to pay for what I have not done,” he told the court.
Two NAR members were sentenced to life in prison for the Bologna attack, and a third, who was a minor at the time, to 30 years. Several others, including members of the security services, received lighter sentences of between seven and ten years for obstruction of justice.
But some families of the victims believe that the real masterminds behind the attack remain unknown and unpunished.