Italian Mob War Underway; Scampia's Reviled Towers; Singing Mafia Sympathizers

Two grisly hits in as many days have prompted Naples law enforcement to announce that a mob war may be in progress.

Scampia Towers
The Scampia Towers appear in background of scenes in Gomorrah.

Specifically, Italian police say that the Camorra has broken out into an internal shooting war, likely for control of the drug trade in the residential area near the notorious Scampia towers, known locally as "Le Vele," or “the sails,” those unusually shaped concrete buildings on the outskirts of Naples that Gomorrah fans will be familiar with. (More about the towers below.) 

Police and anti-mafia investigators (DDA) discovered the body of Domenico Gargiulo, a well-known member of the Camorra, in the trunk of a stolen Ford that was abandoned in the town of Scampia. He was wrapped in a sheet with a towel around his head to soak up the blood from the bullet hole in the back of his neck.

One day prior, another local mobster, Giuseppe Sorrentino, was gunned down in his car by a shooter driving alongside him on a moped, also  near Scampia.

Police said Sorrentino was killed in “a classic mafia-style hit.”

Le Vele 
Speaking of the ruthless Camorra, one of its bastions is in the process of becoming a memory, if not a nightmare.

The long-anticipated demolition of Naples’ notorious and reviled Scampia towers has commenced.

 The six tower blocks were once a major hub of criminal activity.

Called Le vele, or “the sails”, the unusually-shaped concrete buildings were erected in the 1970s to house the city’s poorest people.

They’ve been a national symbol of poverty and degradation since the 1980s, becoming notorious across Italy. Then, interest in the “sails” was renewed as the location was made famous worldwide when it appeared on the hit film and TV series Gomorrah, based on the 2006 bestselling book by Naples-born writer Roberto Saviano.

Three of the buildings were destroyed between 1997 and 2003.

Three more towers were slated to be destroyed earlier this year. Only one tower ultimately will be left standing as a “testimony to a negative past, now archived,” Il Sole 24 Ore noted. It will house offices for the local council.

Instead of explosives, authorities have opted to use special demolition vehicles “equipped with pincers capable of shredding the structures.”

The redevelopment of the area is expected to include new roads, parks, and public services.

The concrete towers have been riddled with asbestos and are surrounded by trash, and served as a landmark on the city’s northern edge for some 50 years.

Law Probes Two Singers
Catania law enforcement has opened an investigation into two “neomelodic” singers, one of whom posted a video that includes images strongly associated with the Mafia initiation ceremony.

The video is artistic expression, not documented reality. In it, the artist, Leonardo Zappalà, aka Scarface, shows a burning saint’s image and the pricking of a finger with a knife.

The video was posted online on June 24 and reportedly went viral.

Zappalà and another neomelodic singer, Niko Pandetta, who is a relative of jailed mobster Salvatore Pillera. both first fell under scrutiny when they insulted late anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino on a television show that aired on state television channel RAI, Radiotelevisione italiana, the national public broadcasting company of Italy that's owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Italy’s “postal police” obtained a recording of said show, during which Zappala reportedly said that the two judges “knew the consequences of what they were doing.”

Both judges were assassinated in 1992.

Neomelodic performers have always been criticized for glorifying crime in their songs from the very beginning. It's kinda the whole point...

Neomelodic music is a distinctive musical genre that rose to prominence in Naples over the past two decades.

It’s been described as a blend of techno, pop, Latin American music, and traditional Neapolitan love songs, and critics usually characterize it as being “entirely singular” and “totally bizarre.”

As per a story published on UTNE Reader:

"In Naples and most other southern Italian regions, the neomelodics are superstars. They look like quintessential über-Guidos: shaved chests, plucked eyebrows, orange tans, pimped-out cars, skintight Dolce & Gabbana shirts, and an oil tanker’s worth of hair gel. While the people revere them as heroes, the mainstream media largely ignore them—which isn’t surprising. But the neomelodics work hard to break out into the mainstream, where they attempt to reconfigure themselves as friendly Italian products rather than local, Neapolitan ones.

"Federico Vacalebre, the Italian music journalist who coined the term neomelodic, says, “If gangster rap is the CNN of the American ghetto, neomelodics are the CNN of the Neapolitan ghetto.” And though the artists never explicitly speak of the Camorra, Vacalebre adds that “while the criminality of American gangster rap is more of a myth than anything else, our criminality is in fact very real and very scary.”