Gioacchino Campolo, the Mafiosi formerly known as “the slot machine king” had great taste in art. He could also afford it. In 2011 he was convicted for various crimes, including fraud, criminal association, usury and extortion. Among other things, Campolo tempered with gambling machines and thus amassed millions in illegal profits.In addition to the properties owed in Paris, Rome, Milan and elsewhere, he amassed a fortune worth hundreds of millions of euros. Unfortunately, the place that Campolo is expected to spend the next 16 years of his life, will not be bedecked with Dali, Picasso, de Chirico or Veronese due to the fact that the artworks confiscated from him in 2009 are now on display in the National Museum in Reggio (Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria).
The decision to display the Campolo collection at the Museum — one that was reached by the Culture Ministry, the anti-Mafia prosecutors and the Calabrio authorities — is meant to be both a public service and a warning. Edoardo Lamberti Castronuova, Reggio’s councilor for the arts has been quoted as saying that “[a]part from its important artistic value, the art show is extra precious because illegally obtained cultural heritage is being returned to the public.”