Sicilian Mafia Meets Its Match in American Pop Culture

Domenico Palazzotto on the right?
It was bound to happen.

Once upon a time, Sicilian mobsters were known as "zips" and were imported to America for very specific reasons.

They were believed to be tougher than American Mafiosi; they had no police records here; they'd kill anyone -- including women and children; and for them, Omerta was not a word, it was a way of life.

If you've got it, flaunt it. Even if you're Cosa Nostra!
Even in their homebase of Sicily, Cosa Nostra was allowed to thrive in the shadows and prosper for decades, blatantly thieving and robbing on an unimaginable scale, primarily because its corruption of politicians allowed it to act with impunity.

From the end of World War II until pretty recently, the Sicilian Mafia was allowed to grow and prosper, especially once "concrete" -- the first post-war building boom -- came to Sicily.

[It's not just Sicily's Cosa Nostra, however, it's all three of the Italian Mafias, meaning the Ndrangheta and Camorra as well.]

So leave it to Hollywood and Facebook to finally find the ultimate weak spot of the young Sicilian Mafiosi... their vanity.

A new generation of Cosa Nostra, weaned on films like Goodfellas, Scarface and The Godfather, are turning to social media to flaunt their criminal exploits and wealth, some published reports have been revealing.

For the new breed "prison is not a disgrace. It is a degree at the academy of Cosa Nostra," which reports how it taunts police and recruits new members over Facebook, according to News Forage.

Alleged Palermo mobster Domenico Palazzotto, 28, reportedly has created a Facebook page under a false name in which he posts pictures of himself cruising on motorboats, dining on champagne and lobster, and posing by luxury sports cars. 
Palazzotto allegedly helped to run extortion rackets in the Arenella neighbourhood of Palermo, and on the sites aims insults at police, and swaps messages with an aspiring mobster who wants to be enrolled in the clan.
"Do I need to send a CV?" asked the applicant. 
"Yes, brother," replied Palazzotto. "We need to consider your criminal record. We do not take on people with clean records."
The boss then adds: "Join my team… We are the strongest, ha ha ha." Not LOL!

Salvatore D'Alessandro, Palazzotto's alleged henchman, also posted pictures of himself partying around town with his boss on his Facebook page. He even writes of his ambitions to move up the Mafia's ranks.

"For the time being I am one of the small sharks hunting in the deep," he wrote. "But the moment will come when I rise to the surface and will have no pity for anyone," he wrote.

Italian police monitor Facebook; they likely are the ones who leaked the information about the Facebook adventures of the young Mafiosi. 

Noted the UK's Telegraph:

They idolize gangsters like Tony Montana, from the 1980s gangster classic Scarface and Ciro Di Marzio, the hot young mafia boss known as ‘the immortal” featured in Gomorrah, the TV series about the Naples Mafia that has taken Italy by storm. 
I'm too much! Even for myself!
The emerging leaders may have barely made it through high school but they know how to create imaginary Facebook identities and use social media to issue threats, sell drugs and demand extortion payments from those who fear them. 
Nino Spagnuolo, a 30-something Camorra boss in Castellamare di Stabia near Naples, identifies himself as a “businessman” on his personal Facebook page which he has filled with glamorous photos of himself over the years as well as a cake decorated with two chocolate pistols and a legendary phrase from Scarface. 
When he was shot in the legs in an attack two years ago, he used Facebook to thank his relatives for their support and issue a warning to his enemies: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. No mercy for those who do you harm.”

A source quoted by News Forage said that the new generation "does not share the older generation's antipathy for publicity."

As well: "Going online would have been unthinkable for the old guard. They lived in farm houses and existed on bread, cheese and vegetables grown there, without using phones and relying on 'pizzini' (handwritten notes) to get their orders out."

One example: Bernardo Provenzano, the legendary “boss of bosses” of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, indicted for murder in 1963, had promptly lammed it -- for 43 years. When he was finally found in 2006 he was living in a grubby hut outside Corleone.

As the Telegraph noted: "For the new generation of brash young Mafia bosses the very thought is nothing short of laughable."

Another source quoted in an article said: "The new generation are using Facebook, texts and WhatsApp to show that they are going to the best discos, beaches and restaurants, because they believe that is key to earning respect. The problem is that makes you traceable and they are getting arrested."

In June, Palazzotto was one of 95 suspected gangsters rounded up in 'Operation Apocalypse', which aimed at decapitating the city's new mafia leadership, which is allegedly involved in vote rigging, extortion, drug trafficking and money laundering.

Palermo police found fugitive Antonino Lauricella because he was apparently addicted to his Facebook page.

Also, one of Italy's most wanted Mafia suspects, Pasquale Manfredi, was tracked down by police in Calabria in 2010 via his Facebook account.
Scene from gritty new Italian TV series called "Gomorrah."

Manfredi, who adopted the nickname 'Scarface', was a boss in the notoriously violent 'Ndrangheta organization and was arrested for the murder of a rival in Isola Capo Rizzuto.

Naples anti-mafia prosecutor Antonello Ardituro has warned Facebook is a dangerous propaganda tool for the mob and warned young people were particularly vulnerable because they lacked the ability to identify criminals on social media. “It is difficult to think of ways to fight it,” he told one interviewer.

Italy has another potential problem. A new hit television series -- described as Italy's version of The Sopranos of David Chase/HBO fame -- called Gomorrah seems to be inspiring a new generation of criminals.

Series director Stefano Sollima says he was surprised how closely the crime drama, shot on location in the "squalid, crime-ridden" Naples suburb of Scampia, seems to mimic daily life there.

“When we were in Scampia, we were about to film a scene in a bar that was to be blown up. And one was blown up for real in front of us,” Sollima told Italian daily Il Messaggero. 
The show, based on Roberto Saviano’s top-selling book Gomorrah, attracted around 700,000 Italian viewers each week in its first season and shooting for the second season is poised to begin, according to the Hollywood Reporter.


  1. I wonder if the old timers under 416 bis know about this. Will these guys be shelved over the vanity they have? If it can happen to tg graziano it can happen to these guys.

  2. What does TG Graziano have to do with Sicily?

  3. It's an analogy that I made.

  4. Those bonanno boys are a joke compared to the camorra clans. Those camorrista will kill your kid and leave it on your doorstep. It's a sad fact but true

  5. TG got shelved because he couldn't stop his daughters from embarrassing him and the entire Bonanno family not because he has a Facebook account.

  6. I stand corrected. Not going to be an asshole and combat the truth when I'm in the wrong.

  7. Very unfortunate. I feel bad for the victims.

  8. Well to be honest, most of these guys have had fb accounts for years now. Also under an alias, or using their wife's page, etc. Except up until now, they've been on there to interact privately with whoever they're looking to talk with on there. And on their page, they stuck to playing Candy Crush and silly fb games. This is ridiculous and there will be consequences for these guys no doubt. The bosses are not sitting in 41-bis regime for life, only to have some kunckleheads acting openly.

  9. The Sicilians have done the same.

  10. Gomorrah, sounds like a venereal disease

  11. In Italy you don't get shelved, you get whacked

  12. Low key is proven best these guys should learn about gotti and don carlo then choose which path to take flashy and flamboyant or clannish and low profile

  13. With all due respect, they should learn about the good Lord Jesus Christ and choose that path. Whether low key or flashy, it won't be a happy ending.

  14. How about just do ur own thing this way the only person who could Rat u out is is is ur self and the only person ir ur married u k

  15. NewSchoolWithThatOldSchoolFeelAug 9, 2014, 5:14:00 PM

    With all respect due...old school... If thats your real name. Ha. I think you should burn that good book

  16. Yeah -- I even wrote a story about Camorra members using FB - Mr DeLucca did (Charlie, you out there?). The Italian police orchestrated this particular story for some reason.

  17. I guarantee you I got shoes older than you, kid. It's never too late for redemption.

  18. As a matter of fact Anthony D. might have a point. Don Carlo had a priest come to him while on his death bed and had the last rites administered while Gotti waved off the priest.

  19. Really Old School? I knew that about Gambino but I didn't know Gotti waved him off... amazing, that man was truly amazing. He always was a gambler but that is one bet I would have hedged....

  20. You can take that one to the bank.


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