A Molotov cocktail scorched the entrance to a Russian-owned villa in coastal southern Tuscany on Sunday night. The villa near Livorno belongs to a 39-year-old Russian builder.
A Molotov cocktail started a fire at the entrance to Villa Pontello at Castiglioncello near Livorno, Ansa reports. A 39-year-old Russian builder owns the building and spends time there with his wife during the holidays.
Police said the attack, which caused slight damage, may have been a copy-cat incident. There were similar incidents involving a Russian-owned villa and other property in Italy after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The builder, who reportedly has various construction and property assets in Italy, and his wife were not in the property when the attack happened. He has another villa which he is restructuring at Castiglioncello. Neighbours called police when they saw the flames.
Attacks on Russian-owned property
The villa bears the name of the Pontellos, a family of Florentine building entrepreneurs who owned soccer club Fiorentina in the 1980s and ’90s.
The family sold the villa to a professional in the early 2000s. That owner then sold it on to the Russian builder about eight years ago, reportedly for around seven million euros.
A fire broke out overnight on April 5-6 at a Lake Como villa at Menaggio belonging to Russian television presenter Vladimir Solovyev. The presenter is a major supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Italian authorities seized that villa and two as part of the sanctions imposed on Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Arson is suspected as tyres were used to start the fire, sources said. The blaze was quickly put out by firefighters, the sources added. Someone wrote ‘V. Solovyev killer’ and ‘no war’ in red paint on a gate, daubed red paint on the walls of another villa, and put red paint in the swimming pool, Carabinieri said.
Solovyev recently lambasted Italy for the seizure of his three villas on the lake worth some eight million euros.