Months after the arrest of three men accused of extorting Cattleya, the production company behind the hit series, Riccardo Tozzi said his firm was “wrong to rent the villa”.
“It was a mistake made out of inexperience,” he was quoted in Il Messaggero as saying.
Cattleya created Gomorra for Sky following the global success of Roberto Saviano’s book of the same name, which details the criminal underworld in Naples and made its way onto the silver screen in 2008.
While the series has won critical acclaim, its producers came under scrutiny in July after three members of the Gallo-Pisielli mafia clan were arrested for allegedly extorting Cattleya.
The production company in March 2013 agreed a €30,000 fee to film in a mansion in Torre Annunziata, south of Naples. The home was reportedly owned by mafia boss Francesco Gallo.
Tozzi spoke of the challenges faced in filming in the heartland of the Camorra mafia.
“Working in Naples, if you don’t understand that the reality is completely different to the rest of Italy, it’s almost impossible," he said-
The production company put its trust in a Naples location manager, Gennaro Aquino, who decided the Torre Annunziata was perfect to recreate the life of a mobster.
Just a month after the rental contact was signed, however, homeowner Gallo was arrested and the mansion seized by police. Two installments of €6,000 had already been paid by Cattleya, with Gallo allegedly making a request from prison for his mother to collect further payments.
Investigators believe the money ended up in the hands of the mafia boss’ father Raffaele, while filming took place after the mansion was seized.
The three men arrested on extortion charges in July will face trial next month, Il Messaggero said.