Antonio Gava

The Honourable
Antonio Gava
Minister of the Interior
In office
April 13, 1988  October 16, 1990
Prime Minister Ciriaco De Mita
Giulio Andreotti
Preceded by Amintore Fanfani
Succeeded by Vincenzo Scotti
Minister of Economy and Finances
In office
July 28, 1987  April 13, 1988
Prime Minister Giovanni Goria
Preceded by Giuseppe Guarino
Succeeded by Emilio Colombo
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications
In office
August 4, 1983  July 28, 1987
Prime Minister Giovanni Goria
Preceded by Giuseppe Guarino
Succeeded by Emilio Colombo
Personal details
Born (1930-07-30)July 30, 1930
Castellammare di Stabia, Campania, Italy
Died August 8, 2008(2008-08-08) (aged 78)
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Christian Democracy

Antonio Gava (Castellammare di Stabia, July 30, 1930 Rome, August 8, 2008) was an Italian politician and member of Christian Democracy (DC). The son of Silvio Gava, who was 13 times minister, Antonio was one of the Christian Democratic Party's leading power-brokers in Campania over a 25-year period, beginning in 1968 and ending in 1993, when he was charged with membership of a criminal organisation.[1] Together with Arnaldo Forlani and Vincenzo Scotti, he was the leader of DC's current known as "Alleanza Popolare" (or "Grande centro doroteo").


Gava was born in Castellammare di Stabia in the Province of Naples and graduated in law. After holding some provincial and regional positions in Campania for DC, he was elected in the Italian Parliament for the first time in 1972. In 1980 he was appointed Minister of the Relationships with Parliament in the cabinet led by Arnaldo Forlani. Later he was for three times Minister of Mail and Telecommunications and two times Minister of the Minister of the Interior, from 1988 to 1990.[2] He had to abandon the latter position when he was struck by a stroke.

On September 21, 1994, he was arrested for conspiring in a "perverse circuit of criminal enterprise" with the Camorra, the Neapolitan crime organization. Gava was accused of trading favors for votes mustered by the Camorra.[2] Gava's alleged contacts in the Camorra were said to be primarily with first the group headed by Raffaele Cutolo and later with the group headed by Carmine Alfieri of Nola. According to the pentito (turncoat) Pasquale Galasso, both Gava and his father initially had strong ties with Alfonso Rosanova, the "spiritual father" of Cutolo.[3][4]

Together with the other Neapolitan DC's moghul of the time, Vincenzo Scotti, he was also involved in the controversial release of Ciro Cirillo, kidnapped by Italian terrorist group Red Brigades in 1981. Publicly the Christian Democrats had refused to negotiate with terrorists, but privately leading politicians and members of the secret services visited Camorra boss Raffaele Cutolo in prison and asked him to negotiate with imprisoned members of the Red Brigades. A large ransom was paid to win Cirillo’s release.[5]

Despite numerous accusations, Antonio Gava was acquitted after 13 years of judicial fights of all charges of being associated with the Neapolitan Camorra. He announced he would sue the state for 38 million euros to compensate damages: 3 million for loss of professional earnings, 10 million for financial damage, 10 million for moral damage and 15 million for damage to his image.[6]

He died on August 8, 2008, in Rome at the age of 78 after a long illness.[7] He was nicknamed the 'Viceroy of Naples', due to his long reign in local politics, which was his power base for his national political career. Gava was known for his trade-mark large-brimmed hat, ivory-handled walking stick, gold ring and a cigar between his lips.[6]


  1. Behan, The Camorra, p. 142
  2. 1 2 Italian Ex-Interior Minister Is Arrested in Raids on Mobsters, The New York Times, September 21, 1994
  3. (Italian) Le indagini contro l'organizzazione criminosa di Carmine Alfieri Archived July 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Verbali della Commissione Parlamentare Antimafia, presidenza Luciano Violante
  4. (Italian) Gava, " il referente " della camorra, Corriere della Sera, April 9, 1993
  5. Stille, Excellent Cadavers, p. 77-78
  6. 1 2 Former minister Antonio Gava dies, ANSA, August 8, 2008
  7. (Italian) Roma, è morto Antonio Gava, La Repubblica, August 8, 2008


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