The author of a bestselling expose of the Neapolitan mafia has said he must leave Italy for his own protection.

Robert Saviano's book Gomorrah - an Oscar nominee and currently on release at UK cinemas - revealed the corruption and criminality of the southern Italian mob, causing the writer to live under police protection.

And after the revelation of a plot by the Camorra - Neapolitan branch of the mafia - the kill Saviano, he has revealed his desire to regain his old life.

"I want my life back," he told the newspaper Repubblica.

"I want to be able to walk in the sun and the rain. I want to fall in love, to drink a beer in public - to meet my mother without her being terrified."

It emerged this week that the Camorra planned to plant a bomb on the autostrada between Rome and Naples to kill the 28-year-old writer and the group of 20 carabinieri who protect him.

"We know that he is exposed to a major risk and we have placed adequate protective measures around him," said Franco Roberti, chief of the anti-mafia police in Naples.

Gomorrah is out now.

15/10/2008 16:55:43