Sicilian villages what to see in Savoca and Forca d’Agro
An obsession (not) meant to be
I must admit that I prepared myself a lot for this post. I have never talked about it to anyone besides my family, but I am a graduated criminologist not meant to be. When I was enrolling in the university, my first wish was the department of criminalistics at the Faculty of Law, but a lot of shitty things were happening in the country at the time and the (un)law was changing every 5 minutes… So, I finally gave up and finished the School of Mechanical Engineering (and I don’t regret it).
Regardless of me having regrets or not, I adore watching crime films and guessing who the killer is 🙂 🙂 🙂
Is that kind of an obsession then or not? 🙂
Maybe I just have this intuition and I can guess who it is even when no one can 🙂
All of this was an introduction to me telling you that I enjoyed visiting Sicilian villages connected to Cosa Nostra or the filming of the Godfather movies (1st, 2nd, 3rd…100th part) VERY MUCH.
So, if you like stories about mafia, then this is the perfect post for you…Sicilian villages, Cosa nostra, America….
To be or not to be a mobster in the 14th or 18th century
The word “mafia” is of Sicilian origin and there is no doubt about it. And there’s also no doubt about where it first appeared – in the 14th century Sicily. Just like the fascist word “swastika”, at first it had a positive connotation. It was created as a defense from French noblemen’s dictatorship (Normans who drove away Moors from the Sicilian territory).
Mafioso (family) and mufia (protection) are all derived from the word mafia, whereas Vendetta as blood revenge and Omertà as a code of silence and non-cooperation with the authorities have always followed.
The evolution of mafia
Everything gets distorted somehow, so this happened to mafia as well. Its structure changed in the 18th century. That’s when the first Dons, Cosa Nostra and Capo di tutti capi appeared.
Now we get to the 19th century
Only when Giuseppe Garibaldi appeared did mafia get the meaning we are familiar with today. It happened only due to the survival of poverty. Namely, Garibaldi came to Sicily to negotiate with them about unification. Italy could have become a kingdom only with Sicily and Vittorio Emanuele would realise his boyhood dreams and become the king of Italy and “padre della patria”.
Just like any “sous chef”, in order to appeal to his “chef” Vittorio, Garibaldi promised a lot of things and fulfilled few of them – which might remind us of the current situation in Serbia (but he did give them gold bars which is an important info for the rest of the story).
If only we could unite somehow like 19th century Sicilians and create a fantastic recovery idea that would be studied for hundreds of years in our Faculty of Economics as an example of good practice. That was the case with the Sicilian idea of a recovery plan that the Dons came up within the 19th century.
But no, smart people don’t reinvent the wheel, and we want to invent another one.
Now let’s go back to the plan. The plan was an organised migration to America. Emigrant figures were huge… about
1 600 000 Sicilians moved to America.
Now it was time for the gold bars…They came into force and the savings paid off. With their help, Sicilians started buying companies in America.
Word and honour stronger than a contract
Sicilian villages – hand instead of a contract
All of those who left for America did not sign any kind of a contract with the Dons because for a Sicilian man, even today, a handshake and honour are stronger than any kind of a contract signed at the notary public. Dons provided them with a ticket, food, a job and they would support their families in Sicily from the salary, in addition to giving 20% to 30% of it to the Don. And that would last for 10 to 20 years. After that, they were free men.
If someone did not stick to the contract, they would retaliate on the family members who stayed behind in Sicily, on the land of Sicilian villages. After those 10 to 20 years of financial slavery, moral slavery would arise…So, for example, if the Don invites you to help out some family after those 20 years of slavery and you refuse because you are a free man…from the very next day your life would get more complicated than you could ever have imagined.
Prohibition establishment and its abolition
This is the time of Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone and Charlie “Lucky” Luciano and the biggest crimes of Cosa Nostra. In this period, Cosa Nostra was divided into two branches – the one in Sicily and the one in America – and the drug trafficking entered by the back door.
Hotel Palmes in Palermo played a big role at that time. That’s where the mafia would meet up every time they had to make a big decision, and one of those was to be or not to be friends with drugs.
At one of those meetings that lasted for 3 months, a new branch of Cosa Nostra in Naples (Camorra) was formed that would produce and distribute narcotics and weapons. After that, Ndragheta followed which dealt with kidnapping, blackmail, and debt collection.
Whereas Cosa Nostra remained Capo di tutti capi to monitor the ongoings.
Fight against mafia
You must have heard of the mega fight process of the Italian authorities against the Sicilian mafia…In 1980, they were finally able to strike a blow.
The story goes like this – two mafia clans had such a huge fight that they started shooting at one another on the streets of Palermo. The police finally managed to confront the mafia after having spent many years training in America. They were able to make Tommaso Buscetta break Omerta and testify against Cosa Nostra.
On this occasion, 450 mobsters were arrested and sentenced to 1000 years in prison and were given 26 life sentences. A special prison was built on the highway in Palermo just for this.
You must know how hard it was to be a judge for this type of mafia back then. Unfortunatelly, in 1992 Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone – two fighters against the Sicilian mafia were killed in two months time.
Giovani Falcone was murdered by planting an explosive on the highway…His car along with his body were blown up with 600 kg of explosive.
Mafia now and then
I told you everything about what it used to be like, but as for now…Cosa Nostra still exists…98% of its business is legal, while 2% are connected to human trafficking and prostitution.
This is how it’s done today…They are co-owners of a number of construction companies, airline Catania, and they also have stocks in the national airline. They have informers at all political levels and to this day do business according to the principles of moral obligations of those who mutually profit from the relationship.
When I say human trafficking I mean all those people who sell you souvenirs, massages and clothes on the beach during summer, and in winter pick oranges.
What was this long story for?
For the cheese…or Sicilian villages
So, three Sicilian villages are important – Corleone (slightly below Palermo in the heartland of Sicily), Savoca and Forca d’Argo on the east coast. And the filming of the Godfather is important, too, given that the inspiration for it was found right in the story of the mafia I told you about and the lifestyle in Sicilian villages.
Mario Puzo …Coppola
By the way, the filming of the first Godfather movie based on Mario Puzo’s novel started in Corleone village. However, Coppola had to stop the filming because mafia blew up his equipment one night. He did not want to donate 1 000 000 $ to the village.
However, the Taormina film festival participants managed to convince him and he decides to continue with the filming, but in Savoca and Forca d’Argo village.
I showed you what they look like and what you can see in both of those villages through the pictures while telling you the story of the mafia. I hope I was clear enough.
If you are interested in this story, then you should go to Palermo. Take a look here to find out what you can see there.