Italian actress and beauty queen Gina Lollobrigida, who died earlier this month, was manipulated into giving part of her multi-million pound estate to her assistant, according to her only son.
Lollobrigida, who became known as “the most beautiful woman in the world” in the ’60s and appeared in dozens of films, died on January 16 at the age of 95.
According to details of her will released in Italian media, the screen star split her fortune between her 66-year-old son Milko Skofic Jr. and her 35-year-old assistant Andrea Piazzolla.
In her final years, Lollobrigida took legal action against her son, accusing him of humiliating her and violating her “legitimate right to grow old without being robbed.”
But Skofic Jr. claims his vulnerable 95-year-old mother was tricked by young assistant Piazzola into signing her assets over to him, while she cut ties with her family members and close friends.
Gina Lollobrigida and personal assistant Andrea Piazzolla ‘Domenica’ TV Show, Rome, Italy – January 20, 2019
Milko Skofic, the actress’ estranged son, has claimed Piazolla took advantage of his elderly mother
Lollobrigida (pictured in 1959) described Piazzolla as “like a son” to her and says what she does with her money is “my business and nobody else’s”.
Skofic told Italian newspaper La Repubblica this week that Piazzolla ruined his mother’s final years by isolating her from “everything she held dear.”
“I couldn’t even get into her house for three years,” he said. “Her friends kept calling me to ask why nobody was answering their calls… Almost all of her closest friends were kept away from her… Everything was in his hands.”
Lollobrigida’s relationship with Piazzolla dates back at least a decade when he became her driver at the age of 24.
He was then promoted to her handyman and then her manager before moving in with his partner.
For years there had been speculation about how close the couple had become – Piazzolla often appeared at award ceremonies holding Lollobrigida’s arm.
Skofic took legal action against him back in 2015 when he accused Piazzolla of taking control of the firm Vissi D’arte, which manages Lollobrigida’s fortune, selling three luxury properties and buying a Pagani supercar.
Piazzolla has also been accused of using bank accounts on behalf of his parents to transfer thousands of euros from the film star’s fortune.
Italian screen legend Gina Lollobrigida (pictured at her home in Rome in 2008) died on Monday aged 95 – leaving behind a fortune believed to be worth tens of millions
Andrea Piazzolla, Lollobrigida’s driver and manager, is accused of cheating her out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, including the purchase of a Pagani supercar
Gina Lollobrigida, an actress known in her heyday as the most beautiful woman alive (pictured in 1954), has recruited a mafia prosecutor to fight her estranged son for her fortune
The latest legal case involved 350 pieces of art and antiques, valued at an estimated £250,000, which Piazzolla is said to have sold without Lollobrigida’s knowledge.
Ahead of the case, Skofic applied to Italy’s Supreme Court to freeze his mother’s assets to stop gifts from being given.
In October 2021, the court ruled in his favor after hearing that Lollobrigida had a “weakened sense of reality”, meaning she was “vulnerable” to exploitation.
The judges ruled that while she could remain in control of her day-to-day expenses, she should be prevented from managing her most prized asset until the case against Piazzolla is resolved.
But Lollobrigida, for his part, hired former Palermo prosecutor Antonio Ingroia, who had made a name for himself fighting with the Sicilian mafia.
Speaking to Italian broadcaster Rai1 in 2021, Ingroia said: “I am her lawyer because she was looking for me and felt the need to fight and to look for someone who would fight by her side.
Antonio Ingroia (right), a former Palermo prosecutor, has vowed to help Lollobrigida (left) regain control of her estimated £35million fortune
Lollobrigida’s assets include various properties across Italy, as well as her paintings and jewels (pictured: the Rome property that hosted Gina’s 95th birthday party).
“For years I’ve been fighting the mafia and the same spirit for a freedom fight that I want to fight and that I’m leading alongside Gina Lollobrigida.”
Speaking to Il Sussidiario, he accused Skofic of only caring about his mother’s health because it’s about her money.
“The problem that caused all of this was not Ms Lollobrigida’s illness, but the destruction of her fortune. The problem is inheritance,” he said.
Outlining her exact relationship with Piazzolla to Rai1, Lollobrigida said she sees him “like a son” and revealed he named his daughter Gina after her – describing the little girl as “a tiger”.
She has described him as “a stroke of luck” that has “helped move her life forward” in recent years after she became estranged from Skofic.
Lollobrigida had also previously accused her former toyboy lover Javier Rigau of baiting her into marriage to inherit her money.
She had been with the 58-year-old for over 20 years and the couple were reportedly planning to get married, but the ceremony never took place after the star called it off.
Lollobrigida was pictured on the left in 1958 and on the right in 1959
Gina Lollobrigida and ex-husband Javier Rigau Rifols at the 56th Red Cross Ball in 2006. The couple – who had a 34-year age difference – announced their engagement that year
But despite their split in 2007, the Spanish businessman managed to marry her by proxy in 2010 without her knowledge, using an impersonator to fill in as Lollobrigida at the service in Barcelona.
She only discovered the marriage in 2013 and Rigau was accused of fraud and forgery.
A film star and sex symbol of the 1960s and ’70s, Lollobrigida starred in more than 60 films and is still considered a star of Italian cinema – even though it has been two decades since her last film.
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 films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956), Strange Bedfellows alongside Rock Hudson (1965) and Good Evening, Ms Campbell (1968) alongside Sean Connery, Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra .
Affectionately called “La Lollo” by fans and family, she has also starred in Trapeze and Woman of Rome and now divides her time between a villa in Monte Carlo, a mansion in Rome and another estate in Sicily.
After acting, Lollobrigida began a career as a photographer and sculptor in the 1980s.