Italian actress and beauty queen Gina Lollobrigida, who died earlier this month, was manipulated into giving part of her multimillion-pound estate to her assistant, according to her only son.
Lollobrigida, who rose to fame in the 1960s as “the most beautiful woman in the world” and appeared in dozens of films, passed away on January 16 at the age of 95.
According to details of her will published in Italian media, the silver screen star divided her wealth between her 66-year-old son Milko Skofic Jr and her 35-year-old assistant Andrea Piazzolla.
In the last years of her life, Lollobrigida took legal action against her son, accusing him of humiliating her and infringing on her “legitimate right to grow old without being deprived.”
But Skofic Jr claims his fragile 95-year-old mother was conned by young assistant Piazzola into handing over her belongings to him, while cutting off contact with her relatives and close friends.
Gina Lollobrigida and Personal Assistant Andrea Piazzolla ‘Domenica’ TV Show, Rome, Italy – Jan 20, 2019
Milko Skofic, the actress’s estranged son, has alleged that Piazolla took advantage of his elderly mother
Lollobrigida (pictured in 1959) described Piazzolla as “like a son” to her, saying that what she decides to do with her money “concerns me and no one else”
Skofic told Italian newspaper La Repubblica this week that Piazzolla had ruined the last years of his mother’s life by isolating her from “everything that was dear to her.”
“For three years I couldn’t even get into her house,” he said. “Her friends kept calling me to ask why no one answered their calls… Almost all of her best friends were kept away from her… Everything was in his hands.”
Lollobrigida’s relationship with Piazzolla goes back at least ten years, when he became her driver at the age of 24.
He was subsequently promoted to her handyman, then her manager, before moving in with her with his partner.
There has been speculation for years about how close the pair had become – with Piazzolla often showing up at award shows on Lollobrigida’s arm.
Skofic initiated legal action against him as early as 2015, when he accused Piazzolla of taking over the Vissi D’arte firm, which manages Lollobrigida’s assets, and using them to sell three luxury properties and buy a Pagani supercar.
Piazzolla was also accused of using bank accounts in his parents’ names to transfer thousands of euros from the movie star’s fortune.
Italian film legend Gina Lollobrigida (pictured at her 2008 home in Rome) died Monday at age 95 — leaving behind an estate thought to be worth tens of millions
Andrea Piazzolla, Lollobrigida’s driver-turned-manager, is accused of defrauding her of hundreds of thousands of pounds, including buying a Pagani supercar
Gina Lollobrigida, an actress known in her heyday as the world’s most beautiful woman (pictured in 1954), has recruited a mob accuser to fight her estranged son over her fortune
The latest lawsuit involved 350 works of art and antiques estimated to be worth £250,000 that Piazzolla allegedly sold without Lollobrigida’s knowledge.
Ahead of the case, Skofic filed a petition with Italy’s Supreme Court to get a hold on his mother’s assets to prevent any more from being given away as gifts.
In October 2021, the court ruled in his favor after hearing that Lollobrigida had a “weakened sense of reality” that made her “vulnerable” to exploitation.
Judges ruled that while she was able to control her day-to-day expenses, she was not allowed to manage her until the case against Piazzolla is completed.
But Lollobrigida in turn hired Antonio Ingroia, the former prosecutor of Palermo, who had built a reputation for his battles with the Sicilian mafia.
Speaking to Italian channel Rai1 in 2021, Ingroia said: “I am her lawyer because she was looking for me and felt the need to fight and find someone who would fight alongside her.
Antonio Ingroia (right), a former prosecutor from Palermo, has vowed to help Lollobrigida (left) regain control of her estimated £35 million fortune
Lollobrigida’s assets include several properties across Italy, as well as her paintings and jewelry (Photo: The property in Rome that hosted Gina’s 95th birthday party)
“For years I have fought the mafia and the same spirit for a freedom struggle I want to do and I do with Gina Lollobrigida.”
Speaking to Il Sussidiario, he accused Skofic of only being interested in his mother’s health because her money is what matters.
“The problem that caused all this was not that Mrs. Lollobrigida is ill, but the destruction of her belongings. The problem is heritage,” he said.
And while outlining her exact relationship with Piazzolla to Rai1, Lollobrigida said she sees him “like a son” and revealed that he named his daughter Gina after her – describing the little girl as “a tiger.”
She has described him as “a stroke of luck” that helped me “move forward” with her life in recent years after she became estranged from Skofic.
Lollobrigida also previously accused her former toyboy lover, Javier Rigau, of forcing her into marriage in an attempt to inherit her money.
She was with the 58-year-old for over 20 years and the couple reportedly planned to get married, but the ceremony never took place after the star called it off.
Lollobrigida pictured on the left in 1958 and on the right in 1959
Gina Lollobrigida and ex-husband Javier Rigau Rifols pictured at the 56th Red Cross Ball in 2006. The couple – who had a 34-year age difference – announced their engagement that year
But despite breaking up in 2007, the Spanish businessman managed to marry her by proxy without her knowledge in 2010 by using an impersonator to fill in as Lollobrigida at the Barcelona service.
She only found out about the marriage in 2013 and Rigau was charged with fraud and forgery.
A movie star and sex symbol of the 1960s and 1970s, Lollobrigida starred in more than 60 films and is still considered a star of Italian cinema – despite her last film being two decades ago.
Along with rival Sofia Loren, Lollobrigida was one of the few Italian stars to achieve international fame with a career in Hollywood.
She starred in such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1956, Strange Bedfellows alongside Rock Hudson in 1965 and Good Evening, Ms Campbell in 1968 – in which she appeared alongside Sean Connery, Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra.
Affectionately known by fans and family as ‘La Lollo’, she also starred in Trapeze and Woman of Rome, and now divides her time between a villa in Monte Carlo, a country house in Rome and another property in Sicily.
After acting, Lollobrigida began a career as a photographer and sculptor in the 1980s.