What Are These Two Sicilians Talking About

Here is a little story -- a conversation between two Sicilians circa late-19th century. What these two are discussing, is one question, but the more important one is: why. It is an example of why there is in existence one of the Mafia "rules" by which members live their lives.

(Googling any of the names will not help you! Don't Google any of this -- try to use your mind, those of you who think you know Cosa Nostra, that is.)

Man A: Man, does my tooth hurt!
Man B: Mine too.
A: When did the pain start?
B. On Our Lady of Ascension day.

A: Where were you?
B: Passo di Ragano.
A: Who was there?
B: Good people.
A: Yes, but who were they?
B: Antonio Gioletti, number one; Alfonse Spatano, number two, among others.
A: And how did they do the evil deed?
B: The drew lots and Alfonse won -- he took a saint, put my blood on it, put it in the palm of my hand and burned it.
A: Who did they say you should worship?
B: The sun and the moon.
A: Who is your God.
B: The Air.
A: What kingdom do you belong to?
B: The index finger.


  1. Mafioso B is telling mafioso A how he was just made on August 15 (lady of ascension day), which in sicily is a big holiday (ferragosto). Pointing to the canine tooth is used to signify this. In Sicilian it's called, "scagghiuni". Mafioso A asks who does B pledge his allegiance to, B answers to the sun and moon (meaning his mafia family).
    As an aside, they use more hand gestures as codes in sicily than anything else to speak of mafia business. Very little words.

    1. On the nose - so what rule did the need for this cumbersome dialogue code produce? Or why did they talk like this - how do they avoid it

    2. I'm the anonymous poster above you, Mr Scarpo. To answer, I guess I would say they needed to have a mutual "friend of ours". As Mr Di Lucca said, "terroni" learned to speak with gestures, which is what I was touching upon with my post. I can't speak for "polentoni" though, who are from the north. :D He would know this, coming from Naples. ;)

    3. Of course I know la parola polentoni... polenta eaters, mangia la polenta. I enjoy using despective names for northen Italians. They have always look at the mezzogiorno as nothing more than: inmigrantes and mafiosi. You go to Milano, and they fell they are Germans. That is why, every time Napoli beats the Milan, or the Internazionale de Milano is a big, big thing.

      Which brings me to another thing that I don´t understand about italian-americans and why Cristoforo Colombo is so important. He was northern, and the north has always dis-rispect calabrese, siciliani, napoletane......

      But that is not the topic of the note, so I will stop.

    4. Si peki tutti babbi italo-americani sunnu.

    5. Anon - correct again; two made men need a third common acquaintance who is also made to introduce them... they are forbidden to meet alone even if they k ow of each other. Maybe Sonny Girard can tell us if it is often obeyed or not...

    6. Why? Does Mr Girard go to Sicily? Does he know first hand what happens in Sicily? I can tell you it's always obeyed over there.
      And getting back to the holiday of August 15, or Ferragosto, as it's called for the holiday, the making ceremonies are almost always done during a Feast in Sicily.

    7. Of course I can't speak to what happens overseas, but I can assure you that there is a complete breakdown of rules and discipline in this country. Now, a question for those familiar with Sicily and it's history during the 19th Century, since I wasn't there at that time either: How does the Sicilian Mafia of the 19th Century relate to Beati Paoli? Did they intertwine, and if so to what extent?

    8. Sorry, I meant 18th Century for Beati Paoli; specifically from the end of the 17th through the 18th.

  2. As a result of french invasion during the 1800´s, ´terroni ´ learned to speak using more gestures than actual words. A way of protecting itself from the invasor. But in general terms, this type of code you have reproduce in the text, seems like ´sectarian´. Masons introduce them self also using a similar type of presentation.

    How do I know that? I knew somebody in Naples who mas member of Clan , a very successful entrepreneur and he became a free mason. Of course, in order to do better business deals. Long story short, he told us the whole thing.... and actually he (we) started to sell memberships. .....

  3. Why does A ask B who was there and B is stupid enough to mention the names?
    Years ago in America he could get whacked for talking like that. Sounds like
    Sicilian cornuti if you ask me.
    Anonymous-Old School

  4. It is said that during the Espartaco Maxiprocesso (the big trial of the Camorra, just like the sicilian Maxiprocesso) one of the jailed bosses had a visit from his elder son. The son, also a Clan member pointed toward his ´ring finger´ as a way to send a message. Everybody thought, the kid is asking What the fuck happend to your wedding right? Did the cops took it? In reality, he was saying ´We know who was the rat´ . A guy whose lastname was D´Aniello . Anello in italian is ring, as in wedding ring.


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