Sicily, one on my long list - of travel destinations. I actually have just wondered how I didn't manage to travel there when I visited 'The Eternal City' !!! One of those epiphanic moments eh...
This post stems from me watching BBC's travel show the other weekend.
This beautiful island in the Mediterranean with popular ruins, mountainous structures, the famous Mount Etna and splendid beaches yet with organised criminal syndicates. Such a paradox in itself you would think. What is the single most important thing famously popular to Sicily; - Cosa Nostra, The Sicilian Mafia!!!
I often wondered whether people travelled for the Mafia tourism or to genuinely experience the landscape and scenic views of the mountains and the beaches. Or perhaps both. I would travel for both and probably more, to be fair.
According to Travel analysts, Sicily appears to sound so exciting from the outside (i.e a touristic point of view) with significant numbers of tourists having themed perceptions of Sicily- developed from a vision of crime and gangster movies coupled with this intrigue that Sicily is what you saw in GodFather 1,2,3 or Goodfellas. However, in Palermo, the island's capital,
there is the scary reality for many Sicilians on a local level. Many of Sicily's mob bosses are still behind bars for decades (to come).
The history of the Mafia stems from themes of murder, blackmail, drug dealing and other illegal business deals dating to 150 years. The organisation still exerts a high level of (criminal) influence on the island from high levels of political corruption to petty extortion rackets. Yes, petty ones! Even in the food and fruits flea markets. The level of control over the Sicilian economy cannot be understated.
In recent years, Sicilians have made continuous efforts to eradicate the Mafia's influence esp via tourism. With a common bid to uphold 'Bye bye protection money', the locals believe that New Sicily - has many things to offer to the world not just the Mafia associations!
Who wants to come with me? We could head to Palermo and do the walking tour in Sicily and learn first hand about the Mafia Addiopozzio!