The south of the country bears the scars of how bosses enriched their clans with illegal, brutalist buildings and gaudy, now decaying, villas

If you ask Maurizio Carta what the mafia looks like, he will take you to the residential areas of the Sicilian capital of Palermo. There, hundreds of desolate, nondescript grey apartment blocks scar the suburbs and a vast part of the historic centre.

It is the result of a building frenzy of the 1960s and 1970s, when Vito Ciancimino, a mobster from the violent Corleonesi clan, ordered the demolition of splendid art nouveau mansions to make space for brutalist tower blocks, covering vast natural and garden areas with tonnes of concrete. It is one of the darkest chapters in the postwar urbanisation of Sicily, and would go down in history as the “sack of Palermo”.

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