Giuseppe Fava

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Giuseppe Pippo Fava.

Giuseppe Fava (September 15, 1925 in Palazzolo Acreide – January 5, 1984 in Catania), also known as Pippo, was an Italian writer, investigative journalist, playwright and Antimafia activist who was killed by the Mafia. He was the founder of the I Siciliani monthly magazine. His motto in life was: "is there any use in living if you don't have the courage to fight?"


Born and raised in Palazzolo Acreide in the province of Siracusa in Sicily, he moved to Catania to study law.[1] Graduating in 1947, he soon moved to journalism and became a professional journalist in 1952.[1] He became the editor in chief of Espresso Sera daily newspaper in Catania — the main city on Sicily's east coast — and in 1980 of Il Giornale del Sud, where he formed a team of young journalists that turned the paper into an independent, investigative journal. At the time, not much was known about the owners, but it became clear that some of them had connections with the Mafia. Fava was fired.

I Siciliani[edit]

In 1983, Fava and his team of independent journalists founded the progressive monthly magazine I Siciliani ("The Sicilians"). The magazine denounced the connections between Mafia, politics and business in Catania. Fava also became part of the movement against the deployment of Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM) by the NATO at Comiso airport in June 1983.

However, it was the investigations into Cosa Nostra and its tentacles in politics and business — in particular those of Sicily's biggest Catania-based construction firms, owned by the four famous Cavalieri del Lavoro,[2] Carmelo Costanzo, Francesco Finocchiaro, Mario Rendo and Gaetano Graci (one of the owners of the newspaper that had sacked Fava) — that would determine Fava's fate. Graci went on regular hunting parties with Nitto Santapaola, the undisputed Mafia boss of Catania, who was on the payroll of Costanzo as well. In the first edition of I Siciliani Fava published an article "I quattro cavalieri dell'apocalisse mafiosa" ("The four horsemen of the Mafia apocalypse"), exposing the corruption and political influence peddling by the four Knights that tied together the local Mafia, high finance and political figures.[3]

Killed by the Mafia[edit]

On January 5, 1984, Pippo Fava was killed while he was waiting to pick up his granddaughter, who was rehearsing a part in a theatre comedy.[4] The week before he had been a guest on Enzo Biagi's national TV show on Retequattro where he denounced the sway the Mafia held in parliament.[5]

In 1994, Maurizio Avola, a nephew of Santapaola, confessed the killing of Fava, and became a pentito. He also confessed some 70 other murders. Avola said that his uncle Nitto Santapaola had ordered the killing of the journalist, as a favour for the cavalieri.[6] In 1998, Santapaola and Aldo Ercolano were convicted for ordering the killing of Giuseppe Fava.[7] In 2001 the Court of Appeal in Catania confirmed the life sentences of Santapaola and Ercolano and the actual killer Maurizio Avola, but acquitted Marcello D'Agata, Vincenzo Santapaola and Franco Giammuso who allegedly had assisted the murderer. Avola was sentenced to six years and six months. In 2003, the Supreme Court confirmed the sentences of Santapaola, Ercolano and Avola.[8]

His son Claudio Fava is a Member of the European Parliament for the Italian Islands with the Democrats of the Left (DS).

The volumes Process to Sicily and The Sicilians, of 1970 and 1978, collect Giuseppe Fava’s most meaningful journalistic inquiries. Among his novels there are Gente di rispetto (1975), Prima che vi uccidano (1977), Passione di Michele (1980).


Giuseppe "Pippo" Fava said, "What is life if you do not have the courage to fight."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (in Italian) Giuseppe Fava, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 45 (1995)
  2. ^ The honorary title Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Labour) was granted by the Italian government as reward for special merit to the Italian economy.
  3. ^ (in Italian) I quattro cavalieri dell’apocalisse mafiosa Archived 2014-04-07 at WebCite, in I Siciliani, January 1983. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are mentioned in the Bible in chapter six of the Book of Revelation. The four horsemen are traditionally named Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.
  4. ^ Anti-Mafia Campaigner Is Found Slain in Sicily, Associated Press,January 7, 1984
  5. ^ (in Italian) "I mafiosi stanno in Parlamento" Archived 2012-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. (The mafiosi are in parliament), audio-video registration of Fava last interview with Enzo Biagi on December 28, 1983.
  6. ^ (in Italian) Giuseppe "Pippo" Fava Archived 2007-10-06 at the Wayback Machine., by Sebastiano Gulisano, Polizia e Democrazia (2002)
  7. ^ Mafiosi jailed for life, BBC News, July 19, 1998
  8. ^ (in Italian) 25 anni fa l'omicidio di Giuseppe Fava Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine., Antimafia Duemila, January 5, 2009
  9. ^ La giusta parte (in Italian). Caracò Editore. 2012. ISBN 9788897567141.

External links[edit]