Monacair helicopter crashes, kills pilot and passenger

Two people were killed in a helicopter crash between Eze and Villefrance-sur-Mer on Friday. 

The aircraft had left Lausanne, Switzerland, and was almost in Monaco when it crashed at around 2pm, Monacair management said in a statement.

The victims are a French pilot, working for the Monegasque company, aged in his 30s, and his passenger, a businessman of Russian nationality with a Maltese passport, according to the prefecture.

53 firefighters were sent to the crash site on a hill and quickly contained the fire, while the  air transport gendarmerie brigade (BGTA) and the Public Prosecutor of Nice also visited the scene and launched an investigation.

According to the statement by Monacair, the pilot “had done all his training in the area and knew it very well” and the aircraft was “of the latest generation”. A second passenger that was due to travel on the same flight cancelled at the last minute.

The Prince’s Government released a statement on Friday evening expressing its condolences to the victim’s families and staff at the Monegasque company.

Photo by Gabor Koszegi on Unsplash

Roca Team edge Bayern Munich to return to winning ways

AS Monaco Basketball overcame Bayern Munich in a tight clash (80-79) on Friday to end a two-game losing streak. The Roca Team are fifth in the standings, but level on wins with second-placed Olympiacos.

The roles were reversed at the Salle Gaston Médecin on Friday. Monaco were the chasers in the fourth-quarter against Fenerbahçe earlier in the week, almost overturning a 19-point deficit. This time they were the chased, as their German opponents dominated in the money time to give Sasa Obradovic’s men a fright.

Bayern were nine points behind with just 33 seconds on the clock, but managed to come within a point by the final buzzer thanks to an Andreas Obst scoring spree.

His final second T3 made Monaco grateful for Jordan Loyd’s free-throw just seconds earlier, which ultimately proved the difference. The Roca Team had to be patient in the 10th fixture of their Euroleague campaign. Neither side managed to make the breakaway until the fourth quarter. Heading into the final 10 minutes with a three-point advantage, Elie Okobo (16 points) was pivotal in giving Monaco breathing room.

The playmaker scored nine points, with a three-pointer giving Monaco a 10-pint advantage with under five minutes to go. As always, Mike James (13 points) was at the heart of the action, helping his side’s scoring efforts and providing six assists.

But in the dying seconds, Bayern hit back. First through a Niels Giffey T3 and then a flurry of Obst points, the German club almost took the home side to overtime, but Monaco narrowly prevailed to go level on wins with second-placed Olympiacos.

Speaking post-match, Obradovic praised his side’s collective spirit. “There are lots of things to work on, lots of progress to be made. Today, it was a team victory,” he said.

Monaco next face Le Mans in the Betclic Elite on Tuesday, where Obradovic’s men will be looking for a victory to keep them in the play-off places.


Photo by AS Monaco Basketball 

Goldilocks: Christmas panto in Monaco

The Drama Group of Monaco, the only English-speaking amateur theatre company in the Principality, is putting on a Christmas pantomime of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Since 1965, the Drama Club of Monaco has been putting on plays, musicals, readings and other performances exclusively in English. This year, in time for the Christmas season, the troupe is coming to the Théâtre des Variétés to put on a special panto performance of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Panto is a tradition in the British Isles and Ireland, and is not to be confused with mimes or miming. It is a “light-hearted bundle of laughs, songs and dance routines roughly based on a well-known fairy tale or folk tale” say the organisers, adding that it is a much-loved and looked forward to family outing during the festive period for many.

Audience members are encouraged to join in, urging on the good guys and booing the bad ones. There are often sing-a-longs as well, with actors getting into the spirit by playing their roles in an over-the-top hilarious or sinister fashion.

The show will be held on 15th December at 8pm. For reservations or more info, visit the group’s website:


Photo source: Paolo Chiabrando for Unsplash

Monaco commended for its transparency efforts

In a report published by the OECD during its recent convening in Seville, Monaco has been given full marks for its compliance with OECD standards and ongoing efforts to enhance its automatic exchange of information processes.  

In early November, the Principality participated in the 15th plenary meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Seville. Represented by Laura Greenwood-Repiquet, Romain Bugnicourt and Pierre-Jean Douvier from the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Monaco joined delegates from over 100 member jurisdictions to debate a broad spectrum of topics, but most prominently the “progress that has been made and the work that is still to be done on the demand and exchange of tax information”.  

A core theme of the OECD is transparency, and much was discussed on the new tax transparency framework for cryptocurrencies and the changes to the Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of information. 

“The Global Forum continues to shape the tax transparency landscape,” said OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann in his opening remarks.  

The meeting also saw the publication of the OECD’s Peer Review of the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information 2022. In the report, Monaco was given full marks for its compliance with OECD requirements, noting its competent legal framework and ongoing efforts with regards to “effectively implementing automatic exchange of information standards”.  

In the days after the event, the Monegasque government released the following statement: “The Prince’s government is delighted with these excellent assessments, which demonstrate the Principality of Monaco’s deep commitment to complying with the international standards of the OECD and the European Union on tax transparency, including the exchange of information on demand, automatic exchange of information, and efforts to tackle base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).” 



Photo source: Mark de Jong for Unsplash

Exclusive interview: Daniele Marzocco on building Monaco’s landmark skyscrapers

When completed, Bay House apartments in the new Testimonio II development will be among the most expensive properties in the world. But, as Daniele Marzocco explained to Monaco Life, it is the successful mixing of public and private housing that this Italian family are most proud of.

It is in the meeting room of the Groupe Marzocco, on the ground floor of the company’s crowning glory to date, the Odeon Tower, that Daniele Marzocco tells me what led his family to this very point in life: a mafia kidnapping in Italy.

“The event was a life changer, very difficult at the time, but today I think it is one of the best things that could have happened to us,” he says.

Daniele’s father Claudio, aged only 29 at the time, managed to escape his captors after 15 days bound. It was the year 1988 and Claudio, who suffered from severe vision problems, fled into the woods, traversing more than 30 kilometres on foot in a freezing cold forest filled with wolves. Somehow, he managed to survive, and within a matter of weeks, Claudio had moved with his wife Doriana and his two young sons, Daniele and Niccolò, from San Remo to Monaco.

“We were not rich, it was not for tax reasons, we all moved to Monaco for the security,” explains Daniele Marzocco, now one of the managing directors of Groupe Marzocco.

Working in construction in Italy, his father started again in the Principality: “Small projects but always aiming for quality, quality, quality,” says Daniele affirmatively, “and service, of course.”

The Marzoccos landed their first big project in 1993: the Michelangelo, Botticelli and Donatello residence buildings in Fontvielle. Other standout developments include the glass-clad Sea Club at Le Meridien, Villa de Rome and Villa les Gaumates, as well as Monegasque housing projects Les Jardins d’Apolline and l’Helios.

The company has achieved more than 50 development and construction projects in Monaco and the French and Italian Rivieras, becoming a benchmark for luxury property.

The Odeon Tower rises 170 metres above Monaco

The Odeon Tower

Groupe Marzocco’s style has been generally traditional, in line with the glamorous Belle Epoque architecture of old Monaco. But that all changed with the Odeon Tower. At 170 metres high, it is by far the tallest, most contemporary building in the Principality; a slender, sculptural work that mimics the blue Mediterranean Sea that it so spectacularly overlooks.

It was an enormous project. After purchasing the land from the State of Monaco in 2003, construction began in earnest in 2009 with Vinci Construction. They dug 10 floors underground and built 49 floors high. By the time the first apartments were delivered in 2015, the project had brought together 1,400 workers. Monaco’s first high rise was born, boasting 60 three-to-seven room apartments, two sky duplexes of 1,200sqm, and a record-breaking five-floor penthouse of 3,500spm with private rooftop swimming pool.

In exchange for the opportunity to purchase the land, Groupe Marzocco agreed to give significant square metreage back to the Principality. Therefore, 177 luxury apartments were earmarked for Monegasque citizens under a low-rent scheme. In one of the rarest public housing situations in the world, citizens are able to live alongside international residents who can afford the luxury of jaw-dropping views, haute couture interior design by Alberto Pinto, and state-of-the-art services including a valet, spa, pool, restaurant and bar in the centre of the city. The apartments in this skyscraper are selling for €20 to €50 million on account of their top-notch amenities. The 3,500sqm penthouse has been billed as the most expensive apartment in the world.

“When you speak about social housing, you always think about a neighbourhood far from the city. There is always a cliché, but not in Monaco,” says Daniele. “At the start, people would ask how they could live with the rich? But at the end of the day, these are just normal people and they all live together happily.”

It is something that Daniele Marzocco says his family is most proud of in this lucrative industry of luxury property development: creating a successful public-private cohabitation and “knowing that everyone is happy and enjoying the Odeon lifestyle”.

The final design of Testimonio II, with Bay House in the foreground, by DBOX for Groupe Marzocco

Testimonio II

It is a winning formula that could have played a significant part in the Groupe Marzocco’s biggest property development to date: Testimonio II, currently under construction in the east of the Principality.

Unlike the land beneath the Odeon Tower, which was sold entirely to Groupe Marzocco, the Testimonio II site is still owned by the State of Monaco. Its waterfront location is reflected in the contemporary wave-like design, and the focal point will be Monaco’s newest landmarks: two spectacular towers at 32 and 30 stories high, housing 378 state-owned apartments.

The first tower, Elsa, is due to welcome residents to its 181 apartments in a matter of weeks. Connected to the Larvotto thalassothermal loop, the building will be supplied with sustainably-sourced hot and cold water, while solar panels on the roof will produce energy for the entire residence.

In exchange for building this enormous housing project, which will include a 50-place crèche, a new premises for 700 students of the International School of Monaco, and a 1,100-place car park, Groupe Marzocco has the right to construct a private development below the towers: Bay House.

Located in the newly-renovated Larvotto district, between Avenue Princesse Grace and Boulevard d’Italie, Bay House is just metres from sandy beaches, the Monte-Carlo Beach Club, fine dining restaurants like The Niwaki and Maya Bay, and the Monte-Carlo Country Club, home to the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

This “horizontal tower”, as the Marzoccos like to call it, boasts luxurious living in 56 grand apartments, as well as five magnificent “villas”, each with their own private rooftop gardens and pools.

Designed by Arquitectonica and Monegasque architect Alexandre Giraldi, Testimonio II is a unique expression of Monaco’s ambition for its future.

“Monaco was seen as an offshore place a long time ago, even if that was only on paper,” says Daniele. “But for around 10 to 15 years now, it has really changed to an onshore location. What does that mean? People who were residents but not really living here full time only wanted small studio or one-bedroom apartments. Now, people are looking for apartments that they can really live in with their families. And when you really live here, it means you buy your bread every morning from the bakery, you go to the market, the shop, the restaurants… All of this is good for the local economy.”

Testimonio II overlooks the Mediterranean Sea

Bay House

Each three-to-six bedroom residence in Bay House benefits from generous entertaining spaces, floor-to-ceiling windows and south-facing wraparound balconies providing panoramic Mediterranean views.

The penthouses (or Monaco-style “villas”) sell the ultimate luxury lifestyle: independent lifts, rooftop terraces and private pools in which to relax and enjoy Monaco’s unique surroundings and climate.

The interiors are neutral, says Daniele, to appeal to as many preferences as possible, designed by award-winning designer Laura Sessa. Italian marble intertwines with opulent Noir Saint-Laurent and Tiger Onyx marble alongside luxury brassware in the bathrooms; sumptuous woven wall coverings soften the master bedrooms; oak parquet flooring and walnut finishes throughout indulge extravagant tastes; and home automation and climate control satisfy contemporary needs.

Continuing Groupe Marzocco’s passion for impeccable services, Bay House features 500 square metres of amenities: a luxurious spa with massage rooms, a steam room and sauna, a hair and beauty salon, meeting rooms and state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, as well as five-star hotel services like a 24/7 concierge with valet parking and a daily shuttle service.

But unlike a hotel or typical Monaco residence building, Bay House is divided into blocks, each featuring its own elevator and entrance. It means that there is never more than one or two apartments on every floor, and a luxurious lobby for each, adding to the exclusivity of this new beachside lifestyle.

The apartments are huge by Monaco standards: between 250 and 1,000 square metres; the villas are around 1,500sqm, and the largest – on the Italy side – is a whopping 2,500 sqm.

Daniele Marzocco is reluctant to discuss prices, but given the average prices throughout Monaco, it is fair to suggest that apartments in Bay House will be selling for between €70,000 and €85,000 per square metre, depending on the storey. That puts the smallest apartment at around €17 million, and the largest villa in the vicinity of €121.5 million.

It sounds extraordinary, but this is Monaco, and Daniele can reveal that more than half of the apartments have sold off-plan already. Now the initial impact of the war in Ukraine has softened, interest is also picking up again.

A living room design in Bay House, part of the Testimonio II development

If Groupe Marzocco thought that the Odeon Tower was a huge project, Testimonio II would prove to be the most challenging yet. Initially, they had to dig 13 levels underground and accommodate two key water sources. They removed 150,000 cubic metres of land for a site that is 10,000sqm but encompasses 150,000sqm altogether.

The biggest challenge has been managing construction in the middle of Covid – keeping 1,100 staff safe and manoeuvring government-initiated site closures. Then came the soaring energy prices and cost of materials.

“In the end, we had no other choice but to pay more,” reveals Daniele. “Even if we signed a contract at a fixed price, we accepted that this was something that no one could have predicted. Delivery of materials has also been a problem. It could be something as small as a missing metal piece on a door. But it means that we do not get the door. So, we are trying to anticipate production, the supply chain, and purchasing what we can and storing them ahead of time.”

These unexpected crises haven’t blown timing out too significantly, he says. Tower two is due for delivery by the end February of 2024, and Bay House is expected to be finished by the summer of 2024.

When completed, Testimonio II will become the Principality’s newest architectural landmark, rising above Monaco in the same manner as the Odeon Tower. It will be another creative fragment in the architectural mosaic that is the Monaco cityscape.

And it will be another feather in the cap of the Marzocco family, which now encompasses more than 40 members; another development that ensures the Marzocco name will be forever forged into the history books of the Principality, cementing a legacy for the next generation.

“It is important for us to pass on our passion for the work, our passion for detail, and the need to always work hard, to be correct and honest. This will be our legacy to our children,” says Daniele proudly.

It is hard to believe in this tiny two-square-kilometre state, but Daniele Marzocco says there is still plenty of development opportunity in the Principality. Although he is well aware that this may come as unwelcome news to some residents who have tired of the constant construction.

“It’s not easy of course, but there are still some areas where there are opportunities for the Principality to create new districts and to requalify some old buildings that have no services. Monaco is like New York, there’s always demolishing going on,” he says.

“But our first commitment is Testimonio II. Our family is fully committed to delivering this project to the State of Monaco and our other clients. We have two more years of pushing to get this over the line, step by step.”

Step by step: it is how his father escaped captivity and a freezing cold forest in southern Italy. But Claudio could never have imagined then how far the Marzoccos would come in the safety and support of the Principality; how his family’s vision, hard work and ingenuity would shape Monaco’s landscape for generations to come, or how the company would set an example to the world of public-private housing harmony.

It is a success story, a family legacy, that continues to be written with every brick laid.


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Photos provided by Groupe Marzocco