instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Heart of Palermo

secret bunkers and mountain hidehouts

From The Guardian...

by Lorenzo Tondo in Vibo Valentia, Calabria

 
On the slopes of the Aspromonte mountains, Pasquale Marando, a man known as the Pablo Escobar of the Calabrian mafia, the feared 'Ndrangheta, built a secret bunker whose entrance was the mouth of a pizza oven.

Less than 10 miles away, Ernesto Fazzalari, who allegedly enjoyed trap shooting with the heads of his decapitated victims, lived in a 10 square-metre hideout in the formidable southern Italian range. When authorities came for him in 2004, Fazzalari, then the second most-wanted mafia boss after Matteo Messina Denaro of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, had already escaped through a secret tunnel under the kitchen sink.

Be the first to comment

Palermo's "Kidnapped" Caravaggio

From The Guardian:

"..."The letter was accompanied by piece of the painting, a tiny piece of the canvas, which was intended to make clear to me that they really had the Caravaggio in their possession," Benedetto told his interviewer. "I went straight to the superintendent and informed him of what was happening. I left him the letter and the piece of canvas."

"The mafia was doing with the painting what they normally do with kidnapping victims", says D'Anolfi, who, at 45, is now an acclaimed director and will be screening the full interview next month in Palermo. "They had sent a piece of the painting just like they normally send a finger or an ear of a kidnapping victim."

Be the first to comment

Mafia at its weakest now

From The Guardian...

by Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo
Sun 22 Sep 2019 09.36 BST
 
I remember the day as if it was yesterday – 23 May 1992, the day that changed Sicilians' lives for ever. I remember my mother's tears as she sat glued to the TV, watching what looked like an earthquake. Cars buried in rubble, streets ripped open, dozens of photographers and police officers on the scene of what in my mind could only have been a natural disaster.

I quickly realised that wasn't the case – that a terrible murder had been committed. The white Fiat Croma buried in the dirt was carrying Cosa Nostra's number one enemy, the anti-mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone. Mafia bosses had placed 300kg of explosives under the motorway between the airport and Palermo. As the convoy of cars surrounding the Fiat got closer, the bomb was detonated, killing Falcone, his wife and three members of his police escort.



Be the first to comment

"The Godmother" arrested in Sicily

A female mobster suspected of being the mastermind behind a reshuffle of the Sicilian mafia after a series of high profile arrests has been taken into custody, Italian police have said.
Mariangela Di Trapani, 49, was arrested on charges of having managed the business of the Resuttana family, one of the most important Cosa Nostra  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Mafia destroying Sicily's farms

From The Guardian:
The Napoli sisters keep their entire harvest in a glass jar, resting on a wooden table in the living room. Inside, there are only a dozen stalks of wheat. The rest of the crop – 80,000 kilograms – was destroyed by the Sicilian mafia, determined to force out these three women working in the land of The Godfather.

For three generations, the Napoli family farmed wheat and hay in Corleone, the historic stronghold of Cosa Nostra. Their father, Salvatore, was a hard worker who, after much sacrifice in the fields, managed to send his three daughters – Marianna, Ina and Irene – to university.

But a crisis in what was the world’s most notorious mafia, broken apart by prosecutors, has pushed Cosa Nostra back to their rural origins, and they want their land back. Read More 
Be the first to comment

25th anniversary of Mafia/State murder of Paolo Borsellino

After the church bells tolled, after the minute of silence at 4:58 p.m., the moment the car bomb exploded twenty-five years before, the assassinated Judge Paolo Borsellino's brother read the names of the victims:
Paolo Borsellino
Agostino Catalano
Emanuela Loi
Walter Eddiee Cosina
Claudio Traina
1 Comments
Post a comment

mafia profits from immigrants' suffering

From the New York Times:
ISOLA DI CAPO RIZZUTO, Italy — The government provided millions of euros to care for the migrants who had arrived at the reception center at Italy’s toe after traveling across deserts, war zones or choppy seas. But on many days, they were served little more than rancid chicken. Some did not eat at all when the food ran out.

At the same time, the priest who founded the local branch of the charity managing the center was spending money on expensive hotels and restaurants, splurging on fine wines and stashing thousands of euros in three safes at home, the authorities say. His business partners — mobsters and their associates — outfitted their bathtubs with golden taps. Some hid thousands of euros in vacuum-sealed plastic bags tucked in their fireplaces. Read More 
Be the first to comment

Letizia Battaglia, photographer of 1980s mafia Palermo, now shoots a little girl, Greta

From The Guardian:
Letizia Battaglia, Italy’s most famous female photojournalist, has developed all of her rolls of film but one. Shot in 1987, the photos show the corpse of a 10-year-old boy, Claudio, who had been killed by the mafia in Palermo.

It was a time of war. The Sicilian mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, was leaving bullet-ridden bodies in the streets and assassinating prosecutors with car bombs. Battaglia photographed hundreds of corpses, building a bloody archive in black and white that showed Sicily’s worst face to the world.

Thirty years have passed since Battaglia photographed the boy, killed because he had witnessed a murder, and the world around her has changed. Tourism has regenerated Palermo and brought it back from the depths. Most of the Cosa Nostra bosses are in prison and its killers have stopped shooting up the city. Battaglia has changed too. Now, at 82, she is trying to leave behind the horror of those years and searching for innocence and beauty. Read More 
Be the first to comment

25th anniversary of Mafia murder of Giovanni Falcone

Trump fires the people investigating him. In Sicily, with the complicity of politicians, the mafia kills them. RIP Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three body guards who were blown up with him 25 years ago today. Read "Excellent Cadavers" by Alexander Stille.
Be the first to comment

Mafioso shot down while riding his bike in Palermo

From The Guardian:

A mafia boss has been gunned down while riding his bicycle in Sicily, in what appeared to have been the sort of mob killing that has become rarer in recent years as dangerous figures have been locked up.

Giuseppe Dainotti, 67, was shot in the head as he cycled along a street in Palermo, almost 25 years to the day since anti-Mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone was killed in a bomb blast on a motorway on the Italian island.

Photographs of Monday’s crime scene evoked decades of violence in the Sicilian capital, showing Dainotti’s body covered by a sheet, only his shoes on show, and the white bicycle he was riding lying where it fell. Read More 
Be the first to comment