Antonio Gava (Castellammare di Stabia, July 30, 1930 – Rome, August 8, 2008) was an Italianpolitician and member of Christian Democracy (DC). The son of Silvio Gava, who was 13 times minister, Antonio was one of the Christian Democratic Party's leading power-brokers in Campania over a 25-year period, beginning in 1968 and ending in 1993, when he was charged with membership of a criminal organisation. Together with Arnaldo Forlani and Vincenzo Scotti, he was the leader of DC's current known as "Alleanza Popolare" (or "Grande centro doroteo").
On September 21, 1994, he was arrested for conspiring in a "perverse circuit of criminal enterprise" with the Camorra, the Neapolitan crime organization. Gava was accused of trading favors for votes mustered by the Camorra. Gava's alleged contacts in the Camorra were said to be primarily with first the group headed by Raffaele Cutolo and later with the group headed by Carmine Alfieri of Nola. According to the pentito (turncoat) Pasquale Galasso, both Gava and his father initially had strong ties with Alfonso Rosanova, the "spiritual father" of Cutolo.
Together with the other Neapolitan DC's moghul of the time, Vincenzo Scotti, he was also involved in the controversial release of Ciro Cirillo, kidnapped by Italian terrorist group Red Brigades in 1981. Publicly the Christian Democrats had refused to negotiate with terrorists, but privately leading politicians and members of the secret services visited Camorra boss Raffaele Cutolo in prison and asked him to negotiate with imprisoned members of the Red Brigades. A large ransom was paid to win Cirillo’s release.
Despite numerous accusations, Antonio Gava was acquitted after 13 years of judicial fights of all charges of being associated with the Neapolitan Camorra. He announced he would sue the state for 38 million euros to compensate damages: 3 million for loss of professional earnings, 10 million for financial damage, 10 million for moral damage and 15 million for damage to his image.
He died on August 8, 2008, in Rome at the age of 78 after a long illness. He was nicknamed the 'Viceroy of Naples', due to his long reign in local politics, which was his power base for his national political career. Gava was known for his trade-mark large-brimmed hat, ivory-handled walking stick, gold ring and a cigar between his lips.