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Città di Corleone
Coat of arms of Corleone
Coat of arms
Corleone is located in Italy
Location of Corleone in Italy
Coordinates: 37°49′N 13°18′E / 37.817°N 13.300°E / 37.817; 13.300
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province Palermo (PA)
Frazioni Ficuzza
 • Mayor Leoluchina Savona[1]
 • Total 229 km2 (88 sq mi)
Elevation 600 m (2,000 ft)
Population (31 December 2010)
 • Total 11,373
 • Density 50/km2 (130/sq mi)
Demonym Corleonesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 90034
Dialing code 091
Patron saint St. Leoluca
Website Official website

Corleone (Sicilian: Cunigghiuni) is a small town and comune of approximately 12,000 inhabitants in the Province of Palermo in Sicily, Italy.

Several Mafia bosses have come from Corleone, including Tommy Gagliano, Jack Dragna, Giuseppe Morello, Michele Navarra, Luciano Leggio, Leoluca Bagarella, Salvatore Riina and Bernardo Provenzano. It is also the birthplace of several fictional characters in The Godfather, most notably Vito (Andolini) Corleone.

The local mafia clan, the Corleonesi, led the Mafia in the 1980s and 1990s, and were the most violent and ruthless Mafia clan ever to take control of the organization.


The etymology of the name is uncertain, undergoing various modifications from the Ancient Greek Kouroullounè to the Arabic Kurulliùn\Qurlayun of the Emirate of Sicily, from Latin Curilionum to the Norman Coraigliòn, from the Aragonese Conillon, Coriglione from which the Sicilian Cunigghiuni originated. The modern name ascend from 1556.

A lookout tower built between the 11th and 12th century, known as Saracena, still stands. The view from the tower includes the Cascata delle Due Rocche, a sheer drop following the path of the Corleone river.

At one time the town was surrounded by defensive walls that connected the Castello Soprano and Castello Sottano. The latter is better preserved than the Soprano, but it cannot be visited since it serves as a Franciscan retreat.

Corleone was known as "Courageous Civitas" because of its position on the front line in all wars fought in Sicily. Halfway between Palermo and Agrigento, the town controlled one of the main arteries and was therefore one of the most strategic locations on the island.

Corleone was largely repopulated by Ghibellines from Alessandria (modern Piedmont), Brescia and elsewhere - "Lombards" led by one Oddone de Camerana - when it became obvious that emperor Frederick II of Sicily could not prevail over the Guelph-leaning Lombard communes in the middle of the 13th century.

Corleone became a royal property around the end of the 14th century, and later passed into the feudal holdings of Federico Ventimiglia.

Remarkable demographic growth was reported in the 15th and 16th centuries, following the arrival of several religious orders.

In 1943, the Duke of Aosta created the title of Count of Corleone, awarded to Arturo Faini for his merits in the Italian occupation of Ethiopia.

Main sights[edit]

The Chiesa Madre ("Mother Church"), dedicated to the 4th Century French Bishop St. Martin of Tours, was started in the late 14th century. Its appearance today has been influenced by numerous changes and renovations. Its interior has a nave and aisles divided into various chapels containing precious artwork, including a wooden statue representing San Filippo d'Agira from the 17th century, a statue representing San Biagio (Saint Blaise) (16th century), and a fine marble panel depicting the Baptism of Christ from this same period.

The Chiesa dell'Addolorata is a church of the 18th century, dedicated to the Basilian abbot and patron saint San Leoluca, the Chiesa di Santa Rosalia, and the small Sant'Andrea (the latter two from the 17th century), all with important frescoes and paintings, are notable landmarks. The Santuario della Madonna del Rosario di Tagliavia, a religious building from the 19th century, is now a destination for pilgrims on Ascension Day.

The C.I.D.M.A. was inaugurated on December 12, 2000, in the presence of the highest authorities of the state, including the President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Pino Arlacchi, on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Culture, Progress and Legality are the objectives that the CIDMA intends to pursue. In the C.I.D.M.A. you can have a walk through the Room of the folders of the MAXI-PROCESS, the "Room of the messages", "Room of pain" and the final room dedicate to Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa. The first one contains Maxi-Trial documents, which marked a milestone in the fight against Cosa Nostra. The documents, given to Corleone by the Criminal Chamber of the Court of Palermo, are testimony to the work of magistrates like Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who paid with their lives for their commitment to the fight against the Mafia. Among the folders there are the confessions of the famous “pentito” Tommaso Buscetta to Judge Falcone.

In the second room, the one of the messages,you can see the significant photos of Letizia Battaglia, well-known photographer in Sicily, who had the courage to go on site to capture tragic Mafia murders: the photographer was able to capture significant details that make his shots real documents of the mode of action of the Mafia in the 70s - 80s. The different positions of the bodies allow us to reconstruct the communicative strategy of the Mafia.

The room of pain houses a permanent exhibition of Shobha, Letizia Battaglia’s daughter, who followed her mother's footsteps, taking photos of the dismay, of the feeling of helplessness, of the despair felt by those who have lost someone because of the Mafia. In the room there are also photos of Letizia Battaglia documenting crimes of the Mafia, captured in their dramatic rawness. The approach allows us to understand the cause-effect relationships that exist between the crimes and the consequences they produce in the lives of affected families and of the entire community.

The Room "Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa"is dedicated to General Dalla Chiesa, the room contains photos of some of the main bosses of the Mafia, placed side by side with those of some great men of justice, who fought tenaciously organized crime.

To make more meaningful the visit there will be a local guide who, with his stories, will give voice to the photos

Corleone today[edit]

Beginning in the 1960s, the town became infamous for its Mafia, being the town in which some well-known clans had their headquarters (the Clan dei Corleonesi). Other famous Mafia families based there include the Denaro Family.

The most notable recent event in Corleone was the arrest in 2006 of Bernardo Provenzano, "Boss of Bosses", who had been in hiding for more than 40 years. This gave rise to much celebration. "Liberation Day" on April 11 (the date of Provenzano's capture) and naming a street "11 Aprile" shows just how much the arrest has affected Corleone. Gaetano Riina, Corleone's recent mob boss, was arrested on July 1, 2011.[2]

The former mayor of Corleone, Nino Iannazzo, is a direct descendant of Cardinal Antonio "Bognor" Iannazzo (1476-?) of Catanzaro and Palermo, an associate and political ally of Pope Alexander VI and Cesare Borgia, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances after a shipwreck off the coast of West Africa in 1512.

In literature and film[edit]

The name of the town was used as the adopted surname of the title character in Mario Puzo's book and Francis Ford Coppola's film The Godfather. In the novel, Vito Andolini emigrates from the village of Corleone. In the cinematic release of The Godfather, Part II, young Vito is assigned the Corleone surname while passing through immigration at Ellis Island. Shy and unable to speak English, Vito is unable to respond when asked for his proper name and is given the last name Corleone by an immigration official. Throughout the film series, various members of the Corleone family visit the town. In the films the towns of Savoca and Forza d'Agrò were used as locations for those scenes set in Corleone. Michael Corleone is played by Al Pacino, whose real-life maternal grandparents were Corleonese.


  1. ^ "Comune di Corleone - Sito Ufficiale". Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  2. ^ "Italy Arrests 'The Godfather' Clan Boss". Fox News. 2011-07-01. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 

See also[edit]