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And though its protagonists are the friends Elena and Lila, another group of characters shapes their Naples time friend of Naples, Italy, and their lives: the Camorra, a shadowy organized crime group that gradually rises to control Neapolitan business, politics and people. The region that now comprises Italy had long been a diverse collection of city states and republics.
Its unification into a country in was accompanied, unsurprisingly, by massive political upheaval — and thus opportunity for criminals. As members of gangs that had been formed behind bars left prison, they found they could easily gain influence in Naples and across the region of Campania. These early Camorra gangs sponsored candidates in local elections and got rich by extorting money from communities and carrying out highway robberies. In the s they were targeted, along with the rest of civil society, in a crackdown on dissent by the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini.
Then, dozens of bombing campaigns wiped out infrastructure and supply lines, leaving the population desperate. The Camorra rose to the occasion, helping to establish a vast black market for food and other goods. That changed in the mids, partly thanks to Assunta Maresca. A beauty queen turned Camorra wife, in she shot Camorra boss Tony Esposito in broad daylight in a town just south of Naples. Ina 6. Crime bosses used the opportunity both to siphon away state relief funds and to the construction business, entwining their interests with those of legitimate politicians.
Major political figures and anti-Camorra judges were being assassinated. And an attempt to unify the Camorra under a single boss, Raffaele Cutolo, caused unprecedented bloodshed when it collapsed into civil war. Civil society was driven to take action. Investigations into the Camorra and the Sicilian mafia brought waves of arrests in the s and s, both of crime bosses and corrupt politicians. Several prominent figures were arrested, including Francesco Schiavone, a Camorra boss who was captured in when police found him holed up in a secret apartment behind a wall in his Naples villa.
But the crackdown did not end organized crime in Naples. After the Camorra branched out into the waste-removal business in the s, bags of toxic trash have intermittently been dumped on city streets and public spaces. City authorities struggled to get a hand on the situation until Naples time friend flare-ups continued. Today, Dickie says, the Camorra is mostly visible in the form of young drug dealers who lounge on scooters in the streets. Their power is deeply, deeply embedded.
Write to Ciara Nugent at ciara. By Ciara Nugent. Get our History Newsletter. Put today's news in context and see highlights from the archives. Please enter a valid address.
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Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don't get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder. Wife of a camorristi, Assunta Maresca went on trial in for "cutting down"Antonio Esposito, whom she believed responsible of the death of her husband, Pasquale Simonetti, killed "on mandate" by one of Esposito's gang men.
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