Does the mafia still exist?

Is the criminal gang just a myth? Is the Mafia in Sicily still active at all? First of all, a first all-clear: The situation in Sicily, where the Mafiosi with the organization Cosa Nostra were most active, at first glance they relaxed significantly. The arrests of important and long-sought mafia bosses and the formation of an anti-mafia movement, which today even offers many opportunities for tourists to experience the history of the mafia for themselves, but also to support the fight against it, have contributed to this. Would you have thought that with your hotel stay or the money for your delicious pasta you would most likely even support the mafia? I will show you how you can experience the influences of the Mafiosi yourself and also fight them by following a few small tips.

The Italian Mafia in Sicily

Former Mafia Estate | “Mafia-free” businesses |The godfather | Corleone

Spend the night in a former mafia estate

Since the expropriation of Mafia property has been possible since 1982 and even the use of these buildings for social purposes since 1996, you can spend the night here in exactly the same property that once belonged to important Mafia bosses. An important part of the dark machinations of the Mafiosi was namely the appropriation of houses, land and other goods.

The best example of this is today's Agriturismo Terre di Corleone, a former estate of the Corleonesi clan boss Salvatore Riina, who was arrested in 1993. His example illustrates the uncanny power that the Mafia once wielded - after all, his fortune from all crimes was a mere 125 million British pounds. The now 86-year-old has served multiple life sentences in the past few decades before he passed away in October 2017. His possessions and the mentioned assets were confiscated and - now comes the highlight - handed over to the anti-mafia organization Libera Terra. This now manages the estate as a hotel complex.

Many “normal” hotels in Sicily are still paying protection money to the criminal organizations. Accordingly, tourists indirectly support the mafia with their expenses. And without even realizing it. With the hotels operated by the Libera Terra organization, you are absolutely on the safe side, it is mafia-free here. And the experience in the former House of a mafioso to live in which he looked for a hiding place on his escape is surely something very special, isn't it?

This is how you recognize “mafia-free” businesses in Sicily

The Cosa Nostra in Sicily also has its finger in the game in gastronomy and agriculture. Numerous restaurants are said to bePay protection money to the mafia. In Naples, 2,500 bakeries and thus most of the bread, coffee and milk trade are said to be owned by the local mafiosi called Camorra. In addition to the financial losses, the often poor and cheap quality of the food is damaging. But here, too, Libera Terra is very committed and produces, for example, wine, olive oil or pasta itself, only guaranteed completely legal and of significantly better quality.

Protection money is still flowing today ...

Of course, a holiday also includes visits to restaurants, but there are also things that you should be aware of. It is said that a large majority of restaurants, pubs and shops are still paying protection money to the mafia. In order to counteract the whole thing in gastronomy, you should always put on stickers with the logo of the resistance movement when you visit a restaurant "Addiopizzo" pay attention and only stop in such restaurants - Pizzo means protection money, Addiopizzo, on the other hand, shows that the protection money payment is refused and you do not support the mafia here. The organization also offers free city maps of Palermo in German, which indicate which shops do not pay Pizzo.

The Godfather - on the trail of the machinations of the Mafiosi

A novel (and later also a film) that portrays the machinations of the Mafiosi very real, even according to their own statement "The Godfather". Here everything revolves around the fictional mafia family Corleone from the town of the same name, which actually exists in Sicily. Although the film was shot almost exclusively in other villages in the vicinity of Corleone, the Central Bar is still right on Piazza Garibaldi popular destination for tourists. Here you can feel like the people in the film and with the help of the many props and pictures, as well as the number 1 souvenir, the herbal liqueur “Padrino” (godfather), you can immerse yourself even further in the world of the Italian mafiosi from the film. The Vitelli bar, on the other hand, is the real bar where scenes for the film were shot. It is not in Corleone, but at least in Sicily, more precisely in Savoca, a small town in the northeast of the island between Catania and Messina.

Corleone in Sicily - more than just mafia

Unfortunately, Corleone is not only known as the name of the film family in connection with the Mafia. The city has a sad past: In the 1970s, a man was shot in front of the town hall, but none of those present, including the mayor, gave any help or called the police. The man died and represents another sad paradigm of corruption and its related Confidentiality Omertà It also underlines, however, that the situation has clearly relaxed, as there are hardly any incidents like this, which happened much more often at the time.

The murder is a sad example of the corruption in Corleone at the time

The resistance of the "normal" population to these machinations is in the "Via 11 April 2006" clear. April 11, 2006 is the day of the arrest of the mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, who was on the run for an unbelievable 43 years. Not only was the street named after this important day, no, April 11th has even been a community holiday in Corleone since then!

Another work of the anti-mafia movement is this CIDMA museumin Corleone. For only 5 € you can even get a guided tour here, and it’s a tough one. The museum treats both the past and the present of the mafia and its opponents. A special feature is a huge wall of shelves full of folders crammed with files. These are the files of the Maxiprocess, which was led by Giovanni Falcone and in which over 400 mafiosi convicted could become. These retaliated, however, and so Falcone, like his wife, his bodyguards and his confidante Paolo Borsellino, fell victim to attacks by the mafiosi. This means that a lot of attention is paid to the many Victims of the crimes just like Falcone and his relatives, for example, and their personal stories and the facets of resistance are also illuminated here.

A vacation in Sicily?

So overall you can absolutely reassured and enjoy your stay in southern Italy to the full. However, if you follow the tips mentioned, you can almost casually support the fight against the mafiosi, who are still active in the underground, and do good with them! And now follow in the footsteps of the Mafia in Sicily.

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