|Campania/ Italy|  Antonio Bardellino

Born:  1945 - San Cipriano d'Aversa, Italy

Dead:  1988 - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Antonio Bardellino was the founder of the Casalesi clan, which is based in the Caserta area of Campania, Italy. He was a powerful Camorra boss during the 1980's and was involved in the Camorra war from 1980 till 1983 against the rival Nuovo Camorra Organizzata.

Rising the ranks
Bardellino was born in 1943 in the town of San Cipriano d'Aversa. As his position grew inside a local Camorra clan he became associated with the Sicilian Mafia from Palermo, namely with bosses Tommaso Buscetta and Gaetano Badalementi. When Bardellino stayed a while in Brazil during the early 1980's he became friends with Buscetta who lived there in fear of the violent Corleonesi, which was literally destroying everyone on their path. He also associated with powerful Camorra bosses such as Michele Zaza and Lorenzo Nuvoletta, both allies of the Corleonesi. A dangerous bound which would later prove to be deadly.

The Casalesi Clan
Bardellino formed the Casalesi clan by uniting 5 different clans: Schiavone, Iovine, Zagaria, Bidognetti and De Falco. By this the clan ruled over an expanded territory from Southern Lazio to Naples. After the 1980 earthquake in Irpinia, which killed almost 3000 citizen and left thousands of people homeless, they saw their chance and began involving themselves in constructions just like other Camorra clans did. Many roads and houses were rebuild in order of the Casalesi clan, something for which they received both respect and loads of money. The clan also owned a large fish company which imported and exported fish meals. At the firm a more darker business was occurring as tons of cocaine from Southern America was stocked inside for smuggling.

Facing the Nuovo Camorra Organizzata
The Nuovo Camorra Organizzata, simply called the NCO, was a large and dominant Camorra clan led by the jailed Raffaele Cutolo. The NCO was founded in 1970 and also dealt massively in Cocaine with American (reputedly the Gambino Family) and African organizations. Next to that they were associated with crime organizations such as the 'Ndrangheta from Calabria and others from Puglia and Lombardia. Bardellino ally Michele Zaza was a strong opponent of Cutolo and had already tried to face the NCO, without success. However, in 1979 Zaza teamed up with his closest associates, including Bardellino, Lorenzo Nuvoletta and Carmine Alfieri. Together they formed the "Nuovo Famiglia" as a contrast to the NCO. Soon enough both united organizations where heading for a violent war, which eventually occurred from 1980 until 1983. Hundreds of men were murdered during the process and even more were arrested. After a large group of Cutolo's clan was either death or behind bars, his power began to lose meaning. The government decided to transfer Cutolo to a high level security prison away from Naples where he was restricted to have communications with the outside world. Although the NCO was defeated and several of it's members joined various clans of the Nuova Famiglia alliance, another war was becoming inevitable.

Feud with the Nuvoletta clan
By the end of 1983 Bardellino and Lorenzo Nuvoletta began to despise each other. During that time the Second Mafia war in Sicily was being fought between the Corleonesi and the Palermo families, which included Bardellino's allies Buscetta and Badalamenti. Corleonesi leader Salvatore Riina reputedly asked Lorenzo Nuvoletta to murder Buscetta. Nuvoletta passed the contract over to Bardellino because of his association with Buscetta. Bardellino however refused to murder his old friend. Because Bardellino wasn't supportive to the violent Corleonesi and didn't accept Lorenzo Nuvoletta's supremacy, he was a marked man. Bardellino was eventually forced to flee the country and lived a while in Spain and Brazil. He did manage to arrange a meeting with the Nuvoletta's in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1983. Aniello Nuvoletta however was arrested during the rendezvous and also Bardellino was captured in Spain soon after, but was released on bail before disappearing again.

The Casalesi clan itself was still very much alive in the Caserta area and reacted to the Nuvoletta feud with the murder of Ciro Nuvoletta, brother of Lorenzo. A while later they were also responsible for the so called 'Torre Annunziata massacre', where 8 allies of the Nuvoletta's were murdered and another 24 where wounded. The Nuvoletta clan was finally weakened by the Casalesi's and Bardellino was victorious. However, because of Bardellino's absence and the growing power of the Casalesi clan, many of it's members began to disagree with Bardellino's leadership. In 1988 Bardellino was murdered at his beach house in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Although his body was never found, many claim that Mario Iovine, member of one of the 5 families, was the killer. The police unfortunately was unable to arrest Iovine because he himself was murdered in 1991 during the resulting Casalesi power struggle.

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