Vincenzo De Luca
Vincenzo De Luca in 2015
De Luca in 2015
15th President of Campania
Assumed office
18 June 2015
Preceded byStefano Caldoro
Mayor of Salerno
In office
15 June 2006 – 3 February 2015
Preceded byMario De Biase
Succeeded byVincenzo Napoli
In office
6 December 1993 – 15 May 2001
Preceded byMario Laurino
Succeeded byMario De Biase
In office
22 May 1993 – 2 July 1993
Preceded byVincenzo Giordano
Succeeded byAntonio Lattarulo
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
30 May 2001 – 28 April 2008
ConstituencyCampania 2
Personal details
Born (1949-05-08) 8 May 1949 (age 74)
Ruvo del Monte, Italy
Political partyPCI (before 1991)
PDS (1991–1998)
DS (1998–2007)
PD (since 2007)
Height1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
Rosa Zampetti
(m. 1979; div. 2008)
Domestic partnerMaria Maddalena Cantisani

Vincenzo De Luca (born 8 May 1949) is an Italian politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he is serving as president of Campania since 18 June 2015.[1] De Luca also served as mayor of Salerno for more than 17 years, becoming one of the longest serving mayors in Italy.[2][3]

De Luca has often been described as a populist politician and became known for his controversial statements.[4][5] He is nicknamed Lo Sceriffo ("The Sheriff"), due to his outspokenly impetuous and strong government style,[6] and also Don Vicienzo.[7]

Early life and education

De Luca was born in 1949 in Ruvo del Monte, in the Province of Potenza. He then moved to Salerno at an early age alongside his family.[8] After obtaining a high school diploma at the Liceo classico Torquato Tasso of Salerno, he graduated in philosophy at the University of Salerno. Before entering in politics, he worked as a philosophy teacher in high schools.[9]

In 1979, De Luca married Rosa Zampetti, a sociologist, from who he had two sons Piero and Roberto, who are both involved in politics. Piero is serving as a member of the Chamber of Deputies, while Roberto served as a regional responsible for economy in the Democratic Party (PD) of Campania.[10]

Political career

Salerno city council

During the 1970s, De Luca became a member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), at the time led by Enrico Berlinguer. In 1975, after having been head of the party's provincial organization, he was appointed as provincial secretary, leading the federation for a decade. In those years, he was jokingly nicknamed O Professore (Neapolitan for "The Professor") because of his job as a philosophy teacher.[11] Due to his impetuous and strong style, De Luca was also nicknamed "Pol Pot", just like the Cambodian Communist dictator.[12]

De Luca was elected to the Salerno city council in 1990, holding the posts of both Commissioner of Public works and Deputy Mayor. In the spring of 1993, he was promoted to the office of mayor of Salerno due to the resignation of Vincent Giordano, who found himself involved in the ongoing Tangentopoli investigation. A month later, the resignation of the majority of councilors resulted in the dissolution of the municipal council. The subsequent elections marked a significant success of De Luca's Progressive List for Salerno, with 57.8% of votes in a second ballot against Giuseppe Acocella, of the centre-right coalition. On 16 November 1997, De Luca was re-elected mayor in the first round with 71.3% of the vote.[13]

Member of the Chamber of Deputies

Not being able to run for a third term as mayor, De Luca resigned in order to run for a parliamentary seat in the 2001 Italian general election.[14] On 31 May 2001, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies with a percentage of 55.4% of the votes, the highest one obtained by a candidate of The Olive Tree coalition in Southern Italy.[15] After the 2006 Italian general election, De Luca was re-elected at the Chamber of Deputies and was appointed as a member of the Agriculture Commission.[16]

Mayor of Salerno

De Luca with the then Italian president Giorgio Napolitano in 2010

During the 2006 Italian local elections, De Luca was re-elected as mayor of Salerno for a third term after a run-off election, gaining 56.9% of the ballots. He ran as the candidate of the centre-left list Progressives for Salerno, in opposition to Alfonso Andria, the member of the European Parliament supported by The Daisy, and some members of the Democrats of the Left, which were against De Luca's candidacy due to his strong dissent towards the party regional president Antonio Bassolino. In the 2008 Italian general election, he was unable to run due to the incompatibility provided by law between the offices of member of Parliament and mayor of a city with more than 15,000 inhabitants. While in office, De Luca was one of the most popular mayor in Italy.[17]

On 30 January 2010, De Luca announced his candidacy to become president of Campania in the 2010 Campania regional election. His centre-right coalition rival Stefano Caldoro, a former minister and leader of the New PSI (a party that merged into Silvio Berlusconi's The People of Freedom in 2009) won by a convincing margin, thanks to a 20% swing in favor of the centre-right coalition, which included the Union of the Centre led by Ciriaco De Mita, an influential former leader of Christian Democracy.[18] In 2011, De Luca was re-elected for a fourth term as mayor of Salerno with 74.42% of votes.[19]

President of Campania

On 31 May 2015, De Luca was elected president of Campania in the 2015 Campania regional election, with 41% of the votes, defeating incumbent president Stefano Caldoro with a margin of 66,000 votes.[20] He was reconfirmed in his position at the 2020 Campania regional election, which he won with 68% of the votes.[21]

COVID-19 pandemic comments

De Luca is well known for making hyperbolic statements, a behavior that was brought to national attention during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. On 20 March 2020, he threatened to send Carabinieri "with flamethrowers" after those organizing graduation parties.[22] On 16 October, in explaining the decision to impose a curfew, he urged Campanians not to celebrate Halloween, calling it a "huge stupid Americanism".[23] His statements, made in jest but with a serious tone and purpose, have been described by Corriere della Sera as "comic" and "uncouth".[22] Notably, Italian software house DigiLabSoftware satirized De Luca's statements with some HTML browser games freely playable on their website, which attracted some press attention.[24]


In November 2021, De Luca was investigated for corruption regarding a scandal involving the maintenance of city streets, public greenery and parks of Salerno. As reported by Corriere della Sera, the public prosecutor denounced the presence of a so-called "cartel", composed of eight cooperatives, which rigged the public procurements' tenders.[25][26]


  1. ^ "Vincenzo De Luca". Regione Campania (in Italian). Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Mayor of the Month for March 2013". City Mayors (in Italian). 1 March 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  3. ^ Buonomo, Giampiero (2014). "Incompatibilità parlamentari: l'Italia prende in giro l'Europa e la Consulta". L'Ago e Il Filo Edizione Online. The problem of incompatibility, latent since the establishment of the Government Letta, could explode on the situation of the Undersecretary for transport mayor of Salerno.[dead link]
  4. ^ Cacciari demolisce De Luca: “Un populista di sinistra”
  5. ^ Il granduca Vincenzo De Luca, oratoria a effetti speciali tra la ragione e il lanciafiamme, Corriere della Sera
  6. ^ Coronavirus, lo sceriffo De Luca scatena l'ironia dei social: è il supereroe del web, Il Mattino
  7. ^ Don Vicienzo da sceriffo a Duce, Il Fatto Quotidiano
  8. ^ Chi è Vincenzo De Luca, il presidente della Regione Campania
  9. ^ Vincenzo De Luca: biografia del Presidente della Regione Campania, The Italian Times
  10. ^ Profilo di Piero De Luca
  11. ^ Figli, compagna e politica, se per De Luca la famiglia è potere
  12. ^ Lo sceriffo di Salerno. Biografia non autorizzata di Vincenzo De Luca
  13. ^ Elezioni comunali a Salerno del 1997, Ministero dell'Interno
  14. ^ Vincenzo De Luca, Camera dei Deputati – XIV Legislatura
  15. ^ Comune di Salerno. Biografia
  16. ^ Vincenzo De Luca, Camera dei Deputati – XV Legislatura
  17. ^ Governance Poll: i Sindaci
  18. ^ Elezioni amministrative, la Campania torna al centrodestra
  19. ^ Elezioni amministrative 2011
  20. ^ Regionali Campania 2015: De Luca vince, ora nodo legge Severino
  21. ^ Bufi, Fulvio (22 September 2020). "Elezioni regionali 2020 in Campania, i risultati definitivi". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  22. ^ a b Roncone, Fabrizio (2 May 2020). "Coronavirus, il granduca Vincenzo De Luca, oratoria a effetti speciali tra la ragione e il lanciafiamme". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  23. ^ Embury-Dennis, Tom (17 October 2020). "'Huge stupid Americanism': Italian governor rails against Halloween in angry tirade". The Independent. Archived from the original on 17 August 2022. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  24. ^ "De Luca come Super Mario: il Presidente della Regione in un videogame" [De Luca like Super Mario: Region President in a video game]. (in Italian). 27 May 2020. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  25. ^ "Vincenzo de Luca indagato nello scandalo coop di Salerno, notificato un avviso di proroga indagini". 11 May 2021.
  26. ^ "Salerno e coop, avviso di garanzia a de Luca: Si indaga per corruzione. Giletti dà la notizia". 5 November 2021.