An Italian police officer takes in custody Michele Gucciardi, one of the 11 men suspected of helping number one Cosa Nostra fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro, in Palermo, Italy, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Photograph: Alessandro Fucarini/AP Photo

Fugitive Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro communicates with subordinates using written messages buried in soil or hidden under rocks on sheep farms, i(...)

A view of Palermo. “Cimarosa officially became the black sheep of the family last month when he publicly denounced Cosa Nostra. He did so, too, on a national stage, speaking in Palermo to the Sicilian ‘Leopolda’, a sort of Democratic Party brains trust”. Photograph: Getty Images

As reporters in Italy, we have all long since learned to understand the term, “Mafia victim”. Usually, we are talking about those brave local politici(...)

New Italian president Sergio Mattarella arrives at the Constitutional Court in Rome. Photograph:  Ettore Ferrari/EPA

For Sergio Matarella, the man elected today as Italy’s 12th president, all changed on the morning of January 6th, 1980. That was the day when a Cosa N(...)

Convicted Mafia boss Toto Riina’s lawyer Luca Cianferoni talks to reporters after leaving the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome yesterday. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/EPA

In an unprecedented move, Italian president Giorgio Napolitano yesterday gave evidence in the high-profile, Palermo-based “Mafia-state” trial, a co(...)

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi watches a Italian Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Lazio at the San Siro stadium in Milan on August 31st. Photograph: Reuters

The Italian mafia’s former “boss of bosses”, Toto Riina, in prison since 1993, has claimed ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi paid protection mone(...)

Former MEP and senator Marcello Dell’Utri leaving the Palermo appeals court in Sicily after a hearing on MArch 25th, 2013. Mr Dell’Utri denies he has gone on the run in advance of a final hearing next Tuesday. Photograph: Michele Naccari/EPA

A Palermo appeals court judge has confirmed that former MEP and senator Marcello Dell’Utri, a lifelong business and political ally of Italy’s e(...)

Pope Francis meets family members of victims of the Mafia at the San Gregorio VII church in Rome yesterday. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

In a symbolic move, Pope Francis yesterday met more than 900 relatives of victims of Mafia violence for a prayer (...)

Pope Francis waves during the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican yesterday. Photograph: Alessandro/Reuters

Pope Francis has bitterly denounced the Calabrian Mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, following the killing of a three-year-old boy caught up in a Mafia “executio(...)

The beatification ceremony in Palermo on Saturday for Fr Giuseppe Puglisi, which was welcomed yesterday  by Pope Francis after the Angelus in St Peter’s Square. Photograph: Alessandro Fucarini/AP Photo

On a highly significant weekend for the Italian Catholic Church, Pope Francis yesterd(...)

The coffin of former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti is carried from St John of the Florentines church following his funeral  in  Rome on Tuesday.

So this is “Beelzebub”, the very devil himself. It was a fresh autumn night in 1997. I had gone around to Palazzo Giustiniani, half way between(...)