Francesco Visca, Remo Cacciafesta. Angello Sibilla and Luigi Pepe have never met, and until a few weeks ago were probably unaware of one another's existence.

Visca is a foreman at the Fiat automobile plant in Turin. Prof. Cacciafesta heads the economics department at Rome Univesity. Sibilla is a local Christian Democrat party official in Genoa, and Pepe is a lawyer in Palmi, in southern Italy.

Despite varying ages, backgrounds, occupations and political beliefs, they have something in common. They are among the most recent victims of Italian terrorists whose specialty is shooting people in the legs.

This technique of intimidaton appeared in mid-1974 and has become increasingly common.

Responsibility for the shootings has been claimed by a variety of leftist extremists groups who describe themselves as revolutionary Communists.

So far there have been more than 40 attacks of this kind - 26 this year, and 16 since the beginning of June.

Among the victims have been politicians, policemen, journalists, doctors, lawyers, civil servants, industrialists, an accountant, a university professor, a bookstore owner, several mid-level business executives and factory foremen.

Police, sociologists and leftist students say the major aim of the attacks has been to demonstrate the weakness of the "bourgeois state" and to convicne Italy's workers that revolution is not only necessary but also possible.

An official of the Interior Ministry's anti-terrorism squad said, "The main idea is to sow terror among certain group in order to undermine their commitment to Italian society in present form."

So far, however, the choice of targets has been so random and unpredictable that it would be hard for any single group of Italians to feel particularly threatened.

Three journalists were shot in the legs in early June and a fourth was attacked earlier this month. But according to the Rome bureau chief of the Italian daily, Corriere Della Sera, "There is no aura of fear in the newsroom."

A spokesman for the Fiat auto firm, nine of whose employees have been shot and wounded by terrorists since January 1976, agreed.

"There is tension in the factories but no fear," he said. "The whole business is so predictable that it is difficult to be really afraid."

Although most of the victims have not been nationally known, they appear to have been chosen because of their ties to what the extremists consider the power hierarchy of Italy's capitalist system.

"Clearly the shootings are meant to be symbolic; otherwise the terrorists would simply shoot to kill," says Masino de Carolis, a young Milanese Christian Democrat politician, known for his anticommunsm, who was one of the first casualties.

On May 15, 1975, DeCarolis, then 35 was in his political headquarters in Milan when two armed men and an armed woman burst into his office. After five other people had been locked in a cellar he was gagged and bound and made to stand against a wall. "If you make one move we'll shoot you in the head," the intruders told DeCarolis. They then rifled his office files, spray-painted slogans on the wall, shot him in the leg and left.

More recently the technique has changed. Indro Montanelli, editor of the conservative Milan paper. "Il Giarnale Nuovo," was walking to work the morning of June 2 when two young men approached. "Are you Montanelli?" they asked. When he nodded they fired four bullets into his legs, ran across the street to a car and drove off.

Most of the other recent victims, in Genoa, Turin, Naples, Rome, Padua and Milan, have been treated simlarly. They have been accosted outside their homes by two or three persons, asked their identities and then shot.

The shootings seem calculated to intimidate the victims and their friends.

DeCarolis believes it is hard to tell how much a victim will be affected because, he says. "It is hard to tell how much a victim will be affected because, he says. "It is entirely a question of personality." Now a member of parliament, DeCarolis carries a gun and has a 24-hour police escort.

"But I haven't changed my views or altered my activities even one iota," he says.

Montanelli, who is known for his strong personality and rigid views, also says the shooting has not changed him. "I've got eight bullet holes in my legs, is all," he says, adding. "Those cowards will have to kill me to stop me."

But friends of Emilio Rossi a television journalist whose legs were almost destroyed by 11 bullets in Rome in early June, say the 55-year-old Christian Democrat newsman is suffering greatly both physically and psychologically.

According to a ranking official at Fiat, most of the six shop foremen there who have been shot in the last 18 months are still in shock."

"The thing that has affected them the most," he said, "is that they can't really figyre out why they were attacked."

Whether average Italians have become fearful is also hard to judge. Police believe the increasingly frequent selection of targets among ordinary Italians is designed to make people feel helpless and undermine their faith in th state.

Police believe that in the long run the shootings will be self-defeating leading to isolation of the extremists.

But in the meantime they, along with many other Italians, fear that at some point the terrorists will start "raising their aim."