In the Italian slang, a “villa robbery” is a crime in which a group of armed men irrupts into a private residence (usually an isolated villa in the countryside, hence the name, and usually by night) and temporarily kidnaps the owners until the perpetrators finish clearing the house.
The victims will be tied up, beaten and abused, but the epilogue can be even more tragic. Elderly people, being left alone and tied up, will be unable to call for help and die in their bonds. In an infamous case which happened in Gorgo al Monticano in 2007, two keepers were tortured and assassinated.
A particularly frightening crime, the villa robberies have been one of the factors fueling xenophobia in Italy, since the perpetrators are often – but not always – foreigners.