Beverly Village Italian Mafia 'Ndrangheta
Detectives with Italy's Guardia di Finanza seized the Beverly Village resort in Calabria.GdF

A popular beachside resort on the picturesque Calabrian coast was seized by Italian police in an anti-mafia operation targeting the local 'Ndrangheta syndicate -- Europe's largest drug cartel.

The few tourists enjoying the mild, late-spring weather of the southern Italian coast at the Beverly Village, near the town of Palmi, had quite an unusual holiday experience when officers with the Guardia di Finanza (finance police) showed up in the morning to take control of the pool and other premises.

Authorities allege the entire resort was the property of Candeloro Gagliostro, the nephew of a late 'Ndrangheta boss Gaetano Parrello, aka "u lupu i notti" (the night wolf).

Gagliostro is accused of registering the property to a dummy owner to evade unwanted attention from the authorities.

Detectives believe the village, which has high reviews on booking websites and boasts two swimming pools, a large garden and a "sweet Italian breakfast", was initially purchased with 'Ndrangheta money.

"When a company is bought by a person with no means there is a presumption that illicit funds were used," Guardia di Finanza Col. Domenico Napolitano told IBTimes UK.

The Beverly Village was one of four apparently legitimate businesses worth a total of €6m (£4.4m, $6.7m) seized as part of the same operation.

Police allege Cagliostro directly controlled also a car dealership with 50-vehicle fleet, and two cleaning companies, which ironically took care of Palmi's courthouse and the prosecutor's office.

Although not charged with mafia related crimes, Gagliostro is presumed to be a mob affiliate due to his family links and criminal record.

"'Ndrangheta is a criminal group based on family ties," Napolitano said. "And Gagliostro is the nephew of the notorious boss of the local clan, the Cosca Parrello."

Holidaymakers who have already booked a summer stay at the Beverly Village can rest easily though as, pending trial, the resort will remain open under the management of a state-appointed director.

"Proceeds will go to the state," explained Napolitano.

Thanks to its secretive nature, in recent years, 'Ndrangheta has overtaken the Sicilian Cosa Nostra to become Italy's most powerful mafia group.

The strict family relations joining its members mean that affiliates rarely turn informers, making detectives' work harder.