Truths and Myths about the Sicilian Mafia

When you think or talk about Sicily, the first question that comes to your mind is about the mafia. It’s a subject so widely discussed that it has become symbiotically linked to Sicily.

The largest Mediterranean island has been under many domineering powers over time, making Palermo the most conquered city in Europe. Through the island, the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, were then part of the Greek Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Norman Empire, and later became the Sicilian Emirate.

Although corruption is part of politics, films such as “The Godfather” or “La Piovra” have created true legends of the Sicilian mafia. On my first trip to the southern island of Italy, I did not know about the subject of the mafia. In the second voyage, I found more explanations about the parallel world that was driving the local economy.

So if you want to follow the story of the Sicilian mafia, take a flight to Palermo to visit the No Mafia Museum, located on via Vittorio Emanuele. Here are the stories of the bandits who killed and lived in their own laws. The museum has free entrance, but receives donations. If you decide to take a tour of the island, visit Castellammare where it is said that most locals at the beginning of the century had a connection with the mafia at one point, but also with imprisonment. The guide told us that 70% of the small town’s population was in prison at some point. It is worthwhile to visit at least for the wonderful view.

I was impressed when I heard the story of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borselino, two Sicilian prosecutors who fought the mafia until their brutal murder by this organization. Due to the efforts of the two, several tens of mobsters were jailed and accused. The Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borselino Museum   , opened to honor the two, is located in the Palace of Justice in Palermo. To visit the former office of the two prosecutors, you must make a reservation at least one day in advance here. Security measures to enter the Palace of Justice are quite rigorous, as in the airport, so it’s good to take an extra 10 minutes to the fixed time for the visit. Access is free of charge. Before visiting, you can watch the film about Giovanni Falcone’s life here (1993).

The tomb of the two prosecutors lies in the church of Santo Domenico on Via Roma in Palermo. Falcone was killed by a bomb on the motorway linking Palermo airport, and his friend died after a bomb exploded under his car two months later.

For a visit as cheap as possible in Palermo, read also How to visit Palermo almost free in 3 days.