The four-star Grand Hotel Gianicolo, which sits atop the Gianicolo hill and has some of the best views of Rome, was seized from Calabrian property magnate Giuseppe Mattiani and his son, who are believed to have links with the ‘Ndrangheta mafia.
They bought the property from a religious congregation in the late 1990s, paying around 11bn lire in cash, and later asked for a $13bn bank loan “to mask the operation”, La Repubblica reported.
The plan was to cash-in on the arrival of thousands of pilgrims for the millenium Jubilee, Corriere reported.
"This goes to show how far 'Ndrangheta money has penetrated the Italian capital," police said in comments reported by the Italian news agency, ANSA.
"They are quite bold about where they will launder their money".