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Mafia boss Totò Riina buried in Corleone

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Mafia boss Totò Riina buried in Corleone
The village of Corleone in Sicily. Photo: Fabrizio Villa/AFP
10:05 CET+01:00
Infamous godfather Salvatore “Totò” Riina was buried in his Sicilian hometown on Wednesday morning.

Riina, who died aged 87 in a prison hospital on Friday, received a private funeral in Corleone, the village near Palermo where he was born and where he built up the murderous clan that helped him take control of the Cosa Nostra empire in the 1970s.

Authorities in Parma, where Riina was serving 26 life sentences, released his body on Tuesday after completing an autopsy.

The coffin was driven to Corleone cemetery via a side entrance to avoid the media, Ansa reported. Only Riina’s widow and three of his four children – one of his sons is in prison for murder –  accompanied the body, while police maintained a cordon around the cemetery. 

A local priest gave a blessing. Catholic officials had ruled out a public funeral in a church for Riina, who along with all Italian mafiosi was excommunicated by Pope Francis in 2014.


Totò Riina after his arrest in 1993. Photo: Italian police handout/AFP

Riina will keep the same company in death that he did in life: Corleone cemetery is the final resting place of some the Sicilian mafia’s most notorious bosses, including Riina’s predecessors Michele Navarra and Luciano Leggio and his successor Bernardo Provenzano.

It also houses the remains of many of the Cosa Nostra's victims.

Nicknamed “Shorty” for his height and “The Beast” for his cruelty, Riina controlled the Cosa Nostra throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, during its brutal wars with other mafia families and the Italian state.

He is thought to have ordered more than 150 murders, including the assassinations of two anti-mafia judges and the strangling of an informant’s 13-year-old son.

He died in a medically-induced coma after a battle with cancer. 

In the past, conspicuous mafia funerals have angered the public – for instance, a 2015 burial in Rome that saw rose petals thrown from a helicopter and the theme from The Godfather played by an orchestra.

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