Antonio Nirta

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Antonio Nirta
Don antonio nirta scalzone la maggiore san luca.jpg
Antonio Nirta
Born (1919-04-22)April 22, 1919
San Luca, Italy
Died September 1, 2015(2015-09-01) (aged 96)
Nationality Italian
Allegiance 'Ndrangheta

Antonio Nirta (April 22, 1919[citation needed] – September 1, 2015) was a boss of the 'Ndrangheta, a Mafia-type organization in Calabria, Italy. Together with his brothers Giuseppe, Francesco and Sebastiano, he ruled San Luca, a stronghold of the 'Ndrangheta.

'Ndrangheta in San Luca[edit]

The historical pre-eminence of the San Luca family within the 'Ndrangheta is such that every new group or locale must obtain its authorization to operate and every group belonging to the 'Ndrangheta "still has to deposit a small percentage of illicit proceeds to the principale of San Luca in recognition of the latter’s primordial supremacy."[1] San Luca, in the words of a study published in 2005 by Italy's domestic intelligence service, is "the cradle of [the 'Ndrangheta] and its epicentre".[2]

Since the mid-1970s, according to several pentiti, members of the Nirta family from San Luca and the Piromalli family from Gioia Tauro rotated among themselves the position of capo crimine.[3] Nirta and his brothers belonged to the high level of the organisation, the "maggiore".[4]

Early criminal career[edit]

In 1935, at the age of 16, Nirta was already charged for coercion with the use of arms. In 1953, authorities considered him a danger for public order and in 1967 he was charged with criminal association, extortion and attempted murder.[5]

In October 1969, he participated in the infamous Montalto meeting near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Polsi in the municipality of San Luca. The meeting was interrupted by the police, and was intended to discuss the future operation of the 'Ndrangheta and whether or not the organisation would back the Golpe Borghese, a planned right wing coup attempt by Junio Valerio Borghese, which fizzled out on the night of December 8, 1970. The Court in Locri sentenced Nirta to two years and seven months for criminal association because of his attendance of the meeting.[5]

Mafia mediator[edit]

Antonio Nirta was also known as the "diplomat" of the clan, he mediated the peace between the De Stefano and the Imerti-Condello clans in the Second 'Ndrangheta war that raged from 1985-1991 and left some 600 dead. Nirta vouched for the De Stefanos, while Antonio Mammoliti vouched for the Imerti clan.[6] He became a member of La Provincia, a provincial commission of the 'Ndrangheta formed at the end of the war in September 1991, to avoid further internal conflicts.[7]

In 1993, the old patriarch Nirta again imposed a peace in the so-called San Luca feud – a war between the two clans Pelle-Vottari-Romeo and Strangio-Nirta from San Luca that had started in 1991 – with the help of the De Stefano clan from Reggio Calabria, which held for some time.[4][8]

On August 8, 1993, Nirta was arrested in the small town of Benestare.[9] He died at home on 1 September 2015.[10]


  1. ^ Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 29-30
  2. ^ Silence on the streets of Calabria's mafia capital as deadly feud crosses borders, The Guardian, August 17, 2007
  3. ^ Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 60
  4. ^ a b (in Italian) E il boss rifiutò la tregua, La Repubblica, August 19, 2007
  5. ^ a b (in Italian) L’operaio forestale diventato miliardario, Giornale di Calabria, October 2, 2004
  6. ^ (in Italian)"'Ndrangheta 2005" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-09-29.  , Nisio Palmieri, Dossier della Fondazione Cesar e dell’Associazione Sicurstrada per conto della Consulta Nazionale dei Consigli Regionali Unipol Assicurazioni
  7. ^ (in Italian) Sentenza procedimento penale Olimpia Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine., Tribunale di Reggio Calabria, January 19, 1999
  8. ^ (in Italian) Faida, la pax targata Di Stefano, Gazzetta del Sud, January 28, 2010
  9. ^ Italy Seizes Mafia Suspect, The New York Times, August 8, 1993
  10. ^ (in Italian) Morto a 96 anni boss Antonio Nirta Gazzetta del Sud, 2 September 2015
  • Paoli, Letizia (2003). Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515724-9.