Mafia and art- Picasso and Dali artworks go on show after being recovered from mob collection.
A priceless art collection featuring masterpieces by 20th century greats Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Giorgio De Chirico, has been seized from a notorious Mafia boss and is now on public display for the first time in southern Italy.
More than 100 art treasures including Dali’s “Romeo and Juliet” and De Chirico’s “Mannequin” were confiscated from Gioacchino Campolo, known as the “slot machine king”, when he was arrested in 2009.
The art works lay in a bank vault for three years until the culture ministry, anti-Mafia prosecutors and local authorities agreed to stage the show, entitled “Art returns to art”, in a Reggio Calabria museum that has been closed for renovation for the past four years.
“Apart from its important artistic value, the art show is extra precious because illegally obtained cultural heritage is being returned to the public,” said Edoardo Lamberti Castronuovo, provincial councillor for the arts in Reggio.
Italian authorities said Campolo amassed a fortune worth more than 400 million euros (£350million) though his vast gambling operations, video poker and extortion and had an international property empire with homes in Paris, Rome, Milan and the upscale Sicilian resort town of Taormina.
According to anti-Mafia prosecutors Campolo is closely linked to the De Stefano family, one of the most powerful clans in the Calabrian Mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta.