The City Council of Rome today began the demolition operations of eight mansions built illegally by the mafia clan Casamonica in the popular neighborhood of "Quadraro", on the eastern outskirts of the Italian capital.
"Today is a historic day for the city of Rome and the Romans," Mayor Virginia Raggi wrote on Facebook, who personally attended an operation that involved more than 600 members of the municipal police in the early hours of the morning.
"We have put an end to years of illegality and sent a strong signal to the crime and the Casamonica clan," added Raggi.
The villas were built on land with archaeological, landscape, railway limitations and "some houses had even incorporated entire sections of the historic Felice aqueduct," Raggi explained.
"The demolition of the Casamonica mansions, planned for many years, is a good sign, and we are only in the beginning, for the criminals, the good life is over," said Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, present at the area of the eviction.
For the operation, the entire area was closed and cordoned off, causing protests by residents, who shouted at the agents and the journalists.
The houses were built illegally in the 90s by the clan, evicted in the following years and later reoccupied, and cover a total area of about 2,000 square meters.
The demolition operations began this morning and will be completed within 30 days, according to the mayor at a press conference.
"In the villas we find luxurious furniture, or with luxurious appearance," said Antonio Di Maggio, head of the Roman municipal police, who described other details of the "style" such as painted ceilings, golden curtains, two statues of tigers and one of a horse .
In some cases, officers had to tear down the doors of the house, where there were between 35 and 40 residents, including some minors.
The funeral in 2015 of one of the patriarchs, Vittorio Casamonica, whose coffin was carried on a horse-drawn chariot through the streets of Rome and to which a helicopter threw rose petals, made the Casamonica clan known to the world.