Four Italian town councils have been shut down by the government after evidence emerged of Mafia infiltration.

The affected towns were Laureana di Borrello, Bova Marina, and Gioia Tauro, all located in Reggio Calabria at the toe of Italy's boot, as well as San Felice a Cancello in Caserta, Campania.

Italy's Interior Ministry said on Friday that the minister Marco Minniti had ordered the move due to "confirmed conditioning of administrative institutions by organised crime groups".

Government-appointed commissions will take over council duties, the ministry said, and local elections that had been scheduled for the 11 June will no longer take place in two of the Sicilian towns.

According to media reports, the Naples-based Camorra Mafia had infiltrated San Felice a Cancello's council, while in the three Reggio Calabria towns, the 'Ndrangheta group had taken hold.

In 2016, the government disbanded the local council of Corleone because of suspected Mafia infiltration of the Sicilian town which helped inspire Francis Coppola's "Godfather" series. It also dissolved a northern town council over suspected links, for the first time.

The decision followed an investigation by Italy's interior ministry, which found that individuals believed to be connected to the Mafia had been hired by the town council, and that public contracts had been awarded to suspected Mafia businesses.

Other towns and cities have had similar shutdowns including, Arzano, near Naples, and Bovalino and Tropea, two towns in Calabria.