More than 118,000 people have arrived in Italy as refugees from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February 2022.
The Italian government announced that some would be housed in more than 600 properties seized from organised criminal gangs – among them lavish villas, mansions, apartments and hotels.
Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said the initiative will “guarantee hospitality to refugees leaving a theatre of war”.
Authorities seized €1.9 billion in assets from Italian crime bosses in 2021 alone.
Seized assets is managed by an organisation known as the National Agency for the Administration of Assets Confiscated from Organised Crime (ANBSC) – which in total has more than 40,000 properties on its books.
About one third of confiscated assets are located in Sicily.
The ANBSC said that further seized properties would be made available to house Ukrainians once they have been deemed habitable.
The majority of refugees entering Italy from Ukraine are concentrated in four Italian regions: Lombardy, Lazio, Campania and Emilia-Romagna, with most arrivals gravitating towards their respective capitals of Milan, Rome, Naples and Bologna.
Authorities hope that this scheme will ease the pressure placed on local housing stocks as a result of the war.