The Mafia Explained to Tourists – a new pocket-sized guide – Palermo

The word is out. The Mafia Explained to Tourists is a new pocket-sized guidebook that aims to answer everything tourists always wanted to know about the Mafia, but were afraid to ask. Augusto Cavadi, a lecturer on the mob at Palermo University and a tourist guide, was tired of tourists asking him the same questions about the Mafia that he decided to publish a 55-page guide which gives tips on how to spot a Mafia godfather and explains the history and culture of Cosa Nostra.

Cavadi said he had put together the ten most frequently-asked questions and that he now intends to hand out the £3.50 book when he is quizzed. The guide is published in six languages including English. They have been on sale at newspaper stands in Palermo for the past week and also includes a list of books and films which present a realistic view of the mob.

So what are some of the frequently asked questions that Mr. Cavadi had to field:

  • What does the Mafia do?
  • What do they look like?
  • Do they kill women, children and priests?
  • Why haven’t we seen a shootout during our holiday here?

According to the author, the average Godfather is “usually elegant and polite, and they move in high circles”. He had in fact known dozens of them, but only found out years later that they were connected to the Mafiosi when they were arrested.

Well we spent two weeks in Sicily and must admit that we didn’t see any Soprano-like characters or anyone that caused us to pause and wonder if they were connected to the Corleone family. Maybe that’s because I’m going by the Hollywood version of the Mafia. And as for the shootouts, we were happy to have missed them since real-life shootouts can be rather traumatizing and far from the happy memories that you want to take away from holidays.

I wonder how long before someone starts tours like On the Mafia Trail or Spend a Weekend with a Mafia family, etc., and would there be any takers? And before joining such a tour, perhaps one might care to read Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah – A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System, which would provide some insight into the modern-day Mafia and its dark and sinister activities.



  1. Comment by Lisa Peterson

    is this availble at distribution in US bookstores, or just at newstands in Palmero? We would love to carry it in our store!

  2. Comment by Helen

    Unfortunately, we have not been able to find the guidebook anywhere on-line as yet. Gomorrah, however is very much in the headlines, so I hope you’ve got this in your store.

  3. Comment by European Cruises

    Thanks for this but where can i find the guide? i see the other are having problems finding it too

  4. Comment by Helen

    Unfortunately, as the article indicates, it was only available at newsstands in Palermo.

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