Ex-mayors probed over La Scala asbestos deaths

Four ex-mayors of Milan are been probed over seven asbestos-related deaths connected to the prestigious Teatro alla Scala opera house.

Ex-mayors probed over La Scala asbestos deaths
The probe relates to asbestos-related deaths at Teatro alla Scala. Photo: O2ma/Flickr

Giampiero Borghini, Marco Formentini, Paolo Pilleteri and Carlo Tognoli are being investigated for manslaughter and grievous bodily harm, Ansa reported, citing sources.

The period over which the mayors were in office spans between 1976 and 1997.

Carlo Fontana, the former superintendent of Teatro alla Scala, which was built in 1778, is also being investigated. Fontana was in the role from 1990 to 2015.

The famous opera house, which has hosted some of the greatest names in Italian opera, including Bellini, Rossini and Verdi, underwent a major renovation between 2002 and 2004.

In 2009 a seating area in an upper gallery was closed off after asbestos was found in the ceiling.

The building was severely damaged by bombing during the Second World War in 1943. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1946.

The latest asbestos probe comes after 11 former managers at the Italian tyre manufacturer, Pirelli, were convicted of manslaughter in July over the asbestos-related deaths of 24 workers.

The workers contracted tumours linked to asbestos exposure while working at the company’s factories during the 1970s and 80s.

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Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020

Coronavirus cut average life expectancy in Italy by 1.2 years in 2020, and by more than four years in parts of the country hit hardest by the pandemic, official statistics showed on Monday.

Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020
A cemetery in Bergamo, one of the parts of Italy which has suffered the highest death toll during the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.

“In 2020, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting sharp increase in mortality abruptly interrupted the growth in life expectancy at birth that had characterised the trend until 2019,” it said in a statement.

For many years Italy has boasted one of the longest life expectancies in Europe. But with the spread of the coronavirus, its ageing population was especially vulnerable to falling sick.

Italy has recorded close to 130,000 deaths from Covid-19 in total, which have mainly been among the elderly.


The drop in life expectancy was even steeper in some regions such as the northern provinces of Bergamo and Cremona, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.

Men lost on average 4.3 and 4.5 years while women lost 3.2 years and 2.9 years in these areas.

More than 129,500 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, the majority in the northern regions where 36 percent of the population lives.

According to Istat, the pandemic has wiped out many of the gains made year-on-year since 2010, when Italy’s average life expectancy was 81.7.

Italy was the first European country to face a major outbreak of Covid-19 and for a time the region of Lombardy, the nation’s economic heart, became the epicentre of the global pandemic.

Quality of life has also been impacted in Italy, particulary due to the economic repercussions of the crisis.

The government has since rolled out a vaccination programme that, as of Monday evening, had almost 72 percent of the population over 12 fully immunised.

Italy has set a target of vaccinating at least 80 percent of the population by the end of September.