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Entries in Salvuccio Riina (3)


Strange Breadfellows

by Carl Russo

Giovanni FalconeA TAVOLA! The Corriere della Sera reports on the tasteless pub grub of a Vienna eatery inspired by both The Godfather movies and the slain anti-Mafia heroes of Sicily. The name of the establishment? Don Panino, of course, where the menu offers the Don Peppino, a sandwich based on the murdered activist Giuseppe Impastato. The dish is described as “a loud-mouthed Sicilian cooked by a bomb like a barbecued chicken.”

The pièce de résistance is the Don Falcone—a dubious tribute to Sicily's beloved Mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone, blown up in 1992. It's a pork sausage that comes with the legend: “He earned himself the title of the greatest rival of the Mafia in Palermo, but unfortunately he will be grilled like a wurst.” Makes your mouth just water, doesn't it?

Someone was offended enough to launch an online petition protesting Don Panino's “advertising strategy on the glorification of awful crimes perpetrated by the Mafia in Italy.” At the time of this writing, the restaurant's website is down.

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The Second Coming of Junior

by Bluto Ray

Those cultured hooligans at the UK zine Sabotage Times have reprinted another piece from this blog—I’ve always wanted to work with Brando!

Which brings me to the biggest news for Mafia watchers this month: the release of convicted hood Giuseppe Salvatore Riina from prison. “Salvuccio” (“Bad Sal”), a.k.a. “Riina Junior,” is the son of a true-to-life godfather from Corleone, Totò Riina, who will stay in prison forever.

Giuseppe Salvatore "Salvuccio" RiinaIt was the second time the paparazzi had staked out the prison gate waiting for Salvuccio's liberation. In January 2008 he was let out early, six years into an eight-year sentence, while the court deliberated over his case. The image of the junior boss emerging from the maximum security fortress in a snow-white puffer vest and pink shirtsleeves had a creepily incongruous Milan Fashion Week vibe. At the end of the catwalk he stepped into an idling black Mercedes to reunite with the notorious first lady of the Cosa Nostra, Ninetta Bagarella, a.k.a. “Mamma.”

The European press ate it up, but the citizens of Corleone—the convict’s old neighbors—were appalled to have him back. (“He’s socially dangerous!” said the mayor.) Within a year, Salvuccio was ordered to finish his sentence for Mafia-related crimes; back to jail he went.

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The Beast of Palermo

by Bluto Ray

Our first look at Salvatore “Totò” Riina begins on the last day of his accomplished criminal career: January 15, 1993.  The capomafia was being driven along Piazza Einstein, a freeway interchange in Palermo’s residential Uditore district, when police cars sided up to his modest Citröen and forced a stop.  Relieved that the ambush was not a Mafia attack, he told the arresting officers, “Yes, I’m Riina. Bravo. Congratulations.”  He professed his innocence and surrendered his false I.D.

Salvatore "Totò" RiinaLess than twenty-four hours had passed since his hideout was discovered among a complex of luxury villas in Uditore. The carabiniere had been surveilling a particular house on Via Bernini swarming with mafiosi. A reformed boss threatened by Riina had identified three figures on the video screen as the boss’ wife, son and gardener. The agents could scarcely believe their luck: Sicily’s most-wanted man of the late twentieth century was theirs for the taking.

Though Riina evaded capture for twenty-three years, he never cut a low profile.  His actions rocked Italy to its foundations and made world headlines. In January of 1992, he “went crazy,” according to a court document, when four hundred of his fellow “men of honor” were sentenced in Palermo’s Mafia maxi-trial. By the year’s end, the two chief investigators on the case, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, were blown to bits.  Likewise, crooked politicians Salvo Lima and Ignazio Salvo were gunned down for failing to intervene on behalf of the Mafia.

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