The minister on Friday said the antitrust authority sent him a “complex and confusing letter” barring him from speaking at art conferences — such as the one in Milan — and that he was therefore resigning from his government role.
“From now on, I am Vittorio Sgarbi and that’s it,” he said.
In a separate scandal, prosecutors recently opened an investigation into Sgarbi for alleged laundering of stolen art — an accusation he denied and called “ridiculous.”
The probe follows an investigation published last December by Italian media outlet Il Fatto Quotidiano and Report, a Rai investigative TV series, which accused Sgarbi of being in possession of a stolen 17th-century painting and tampering with it to hide the theft.
Over the past few days, Sgarbi came under mounting pressure after he repeatedly insulted a journalist from Report during an interview over the investigation.
“If you die in a car accident, I’ll be happy. I hope you have an accident … you disgust me,” Sgarbi said, as seen on video, even at one point threatening to expose himself in front of the reporter.