"Imagine if Italy were to wakes up and find the Tower of Pisa no longer existed," mafia informant Gioacchino La Barbera citing late mafia chief Nino Gioe as saying.
Other targets that had been considered were the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, the church of San Giorgio in Velabro in Roma and the Georgofili Academy in Florence, La Barbera told the trial investigating links between organised crime and the Italian state in the 1990s.
At the trial, jailed mafia boss Toto Riina and other Sicilian mafia bosses are on the dock along with former police bosses and senior politicians, on charges of negotiating a secret non-aggression pact in the early 1990s.
The Sicilian mafia had plotted to blow up the current Italian Senate speaker and former anti-mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso. It wanted to target the police captain who arrested Riina, Sergio Di Caprio as well as prominent politicians including former justice minister Claudio Martelli, La Barbarera stated.