The BBC’s Duncan Kennedy: “This was a huge operation involving some 3,000 Carabinieri”
The man believed to be the “top boss” of an alleged Italian crime family is among those arrested in a police sweep.
At least 300 people were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of crimes including murder, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organisation.
The Calabrian mafia, known as ‘Ndrangheta, is one of Italy’s major criminal organisations.
Domenico Oppedisano, 80, said by police to be the family head, was arrested a small coastal town in Calabria.
Police also arrested the organisation’s manager in Milan, northern Italy, among 160 others in the Lombardy region.
Those held include businessmen and a public health official.
The operation also involved arrests in the US, according to reports.
The sweep comes after the northern branch of the family tried and failed to secede from the southern part of the operation, sparking a mafia war, the news agency Agence France Presse reported.
Analysts say the group had expanded out of its Calabrian heartland to play a major role in organised crime throughout Europe, and in the international drugs trade from South America.
The police have also seized assets worth millions of euros.
The police operation involved 3,000 officers and is the largest carried out by police in recent years, local media said.
Anti-mafia prosecutors say that the operation exposed crucial information about how the family operates, and made extensive use of wiretaps.