Restoration of Historic Italian Palace Interrupted by Mob Arrests - Atlas Obscura
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Restoration of Historic Italian Palace Interrupted by Mob Arrests

The Camorra gets into the preservation racket.

The Palazzo Teti Maffuccini, outside Naples, Italy, may be run down now, but it has a long, distinguished history. 

It is partly where the country was born, for one thing. In 1860, the Battle of Volturnus ended in surrender at the palace, essentially stopping the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in its bid to remain independent; it was absorbed a year later by the Kingdom of Sardinia to form the Kingdom of Italy, within what are now the modern borders of the country.

Police said Tuesday, however, that the palace has not been immune to a Neapolitan tradition: corruption. The local government had been trying to renovate the decaying palace, but, on Tuesday, nine men connected to that renovation were arrested, some of whom police say were tied to the Camorra, a crime syndicate dating to the 16th century, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Their scheme involving the palace, built in 1839, was based on bribery, prosecutors said. In disrepair for years, the Italian government had recently allocated €3 million, or around $3.4 million, to renovate the palace, which had fallen into public hands years ago.

Two companies won the bid; prosecutors said both were tied to organized crime, after several local officials were bribed with money totaling around €70,000 (around $80,000), according to the OCCRP

It’s unclear now how or if the renovation will go forward, but if the palace can survive 177 years of war and weather, it can probably survive a little corruption as well.