Procopio Di Maggio, who was a mafia boss under Cosa Nostra’s notorious leader, Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina, and is the only one of the Riina clan still at liberty, spared no expense when it came to becoming a centenarian on January 6th.
The ex-boss, who survived two assassination attempts, invited friends and family to a sumptuous dinner in one of Cinisi’s most elegant banquet halls, before treating them all to a fireworks' display, much to the anger of Mayor Giangiacomo Palazzolo, La Repubblica reported.
Di Maggio, dubbed by the newspaper as “the world's oldest mafia boss” and described as still being “sprightly” despite his age, also spent the day receiving greetings from residents who turned up at his home to wish him happy birthday.
What drove the fury even more was that the celebration took place in the birth town of Giuseppe “Peppino” Impastato, who despite being born into a mafia family grew up to be a political activist who opposed the criminal organization. He was murdered by the mafia in 1978.
Other than the shame the birthday bash brought to the town, Palazzolo had another reason to be upset: Di Maggio had flouted a firework ban, imposed by several towns and cities across Italy over the festive period to limit air pollution.
“Today, Di Maggio is harmless, but this story bothers me and I will take action,” the mayor vowed after images and videos of the celebration spread across Facebook, garnering hundreds of ‘likes’.
“He is a mafioso, but the town is not.”
The fireworks could also be seen as far away as Palermo’s Falcone–Borsellino Airport, named in memory of the slain anti-mafia judges Giovanne Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Some of the display was captured by journalists from La Repubblica in the video below:
“The day after we mourned a great loss to the music world, we return to the living,” another Facebook commenter wrote.
“The State is not there for Gianluca Calì, the Sicilian businessman whose only crime was opposing the mafia. Neither is it there for his wife, two children and staff at his company. Meanwhile, we have a six-minute firework display to celebrate the 100th birthday of “Godfather” Procopio Di Maggio in Cinisi, the town where Giuseppe Impastato shouted ‘the mafia is a pile of s***’. This town has not forgotten Peppino, but the State obviously has.”
Di Maggio was among the hundreds of mafiosi who stood trial in the famous Maxi Trial against the Sicilian mafia in the mid-1980s, but was cleared of ordering a dozen murders.
His birthday celebration comes after a lavish funeral held for a Rome mafia boss, complete with gilded horse-drawn carriage and roses thrown from a helicopter overhead, sparked controversy last August.
Read more: Outcry as mafia boss given lavish send-off