Italy: Taking on the Mafia

Additional Resources & Links


Daily Telegraph: 10 things to know about the Sicilian Mafia
The U.K.’s Daily Telegraph provides this guide to the Sicilian crime organization, outlining its recent history, its breadth of power and its continuing battle with law enforcement.

ABC News: The Mafia is Italy’s biggest business
Ann Wise reports on the Mafia’s impact on the economy of Italy, where organized crime takes away the equivalent of nearly $13 million an hour from legitimate businesses, according to the latest study by Confesercenti, Italy’s shopkeepers’ association.

Marketplace: Italy claims land back from the Mafia
Ten years ago, people in the southern Italian region of Sicily wouldn't dare talk publicly about the Mafia. Today, they're taking over its land. From Palermo, reporter Megan Williams takes a look into a Mafia-busting movement known as "Libera Terra."

The Guardian: De-mob happy
In this March 2008 article, The Guardian’s Stephanie Rafanelli reports on how locals are looking to tourists for help in their battle against Mafia rule in Sicily -- asking them to stay in B&Bs, eat in restaurants and shop at delis that refuse to pay protection money.

The New Yorker: Letter from Italy -- Beppe’s Inferno
A 2008 essay by Tom Mueller on Beppe Grillo, the Italian Michael Moore, who’s waging a war on crooked politics in Italy.

BBC News: Sicily Mafia “restoring US links”
According to the BBC, an Italian parliamentary report shows that Sicily's Mafia is rebuilding its networks in the United States by sending members there to form alliances with families with which it had lost contact in the 1980s.

This is the homepage, written primarily in Italian, of the protest movement and association of pizzo-free businesses in Palermo. (Pizzo is the tax businesses must pay the Mafia to operate.)The movement’s impact in Palermo is examined in this audio report from the German news agency Deutsche Welle.


The New York Times: An Italian author driven into the shadows by success
While Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mob, is weakening, other mafias in cities like Naples are as powerful as ever. Journalist Ian Fischer profiles Roberto Saviano, an Italian author who has written about the Camorra organized crime group in Naples and, as a result, has been forced to live in hiding under state protection.

Reuters: Mafia wants “Gommora” author dead by Christmas
Police in Italy investigate reports that the Naples Mafia wants to carry out its threat to kill Roberto Saviano, author of the best-selling book Gomorra, which has been made into a hit movie about Mafia brutality, by Christmas 2008.

Gomorrah: The movie
This film, based on Roberto Saviano’s best-selling exposé of the Naples Mafia, has won multiple film festival prizes, including the Grand Prix at Cannes, and is Italy's entry for the 2009 Academy Awards. Watch the trailer here.


Italy: One-Way Ticket to Europe
On the surface, the small Sicilian island of Lampedusa looks like any other Mediterranean tourist spot. But as this FRONTLINE/World video reports, the island is also a gateway for hundreds of African migrants who arrive daily in barely seaworthy boats.

Sicily: A Bridge too Far
FRONTLINE/World Fellow Mary Spicuzza traveled to Sicily to explore the storm building over the Italian government's ambitious plan to build the world's longest suspension bridge linking Sicily to the Italian mainland.