Sunday, May 21, 2023

Corleone: The Sicilian Town Trying To Break Free Of Its Mobster Past

As I’ve noted here before, back in 1975 I was a student of crime, an aspiring crime writer and a sailor stationed on a U.S. Navy tugboat at the American nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland. 

Undecided if I wanted to go home to the USA or stay in the Navy and get stationed in Italy, I visited Naples, Italy and Palermo, Sicily before I made my decision. 

Being half-Italian on my mother's side, I wanted to see where the Guardino clan came from in Sicily. And having read Mario Puzo's The Godfather several times and having seen Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather and The Godfather, Part Two films several times, I simply had to visit the Sicilian town of Corleone. 

I spent a day in Corleone, a quaint and quiet town that belies its' rich history of blood, murder and organized crime. Corleone is the town where The Godfather’s fictional Vito Corleone came from, and Corleone was also the town where true-life Cosa Nostra bosses, such as Salvatore "Toto" Riina, also came from. 

I enjoyed my time in Naples, Palermo and Corleone, but I decided to leave the Navy and go home. 

Lorenzo Tondo at the Guardian offers a piece on modern-day Corleone and how the Sicilian town is trying to break free of it mobster past.

If it weren’t called Corleone, this small, quaint town would appear to visitors as one of many others of the Sicilian hinterland: groups of elderly people strolling in a semi-deserted square, rows of low sand-coloured houses and a 16th-century church on the highest hill. 

It would be difficult to imagine that for almost half a century it was the stronghold of the mafia’s bloodiest and most powerful clan, and the fiefdom of Italy’s most feared mobster, Totò Riina. Immortalised in cinema and literature by The Godfather, it became synonymous with organised crime, even if the bosses who once governed it – Riina, Luciano Leggio and Bernardo Provenzano – are now dead.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Corleone: the Sicilian town trying to break free of its mobster past | Mafia | The Guardian 

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