He worked as a woodcutter in the Aspromonte area of Calabria, an isolated and mountainous region near the "toe" of the Italian "boot". On 24 September 1898, at the trial before the Assize Court of Reggio Calabria, despite the evidence brought by Musolino, the false testimonies of Rocco Zoccali and Stefano Crea, had helped sentence Musolino on 28 September to 21 years in prison for attempted murder. On 9 January 1899 he escaped from jail.
Musolino was captured by Carabinieri while heading to seek pardon from Victor Emmanuel III of Italy on 22 October 1901 in Acqualagna, near Urbino, He was tried and sent to life in prison on 11 July 1902. He remained in prison until 1946 when he developed mental illness, and was transferred to an asylum in Reggio Calabria where he died on 22 January 1956.
Musolino as legend
It can be said that Musolino was seen by his countrymen as a symbol of the injustice Calabria was facing at the time. As an elusive fugitive, always managing to escape traps, Musolino stirred the imagination of many people in Italy and in short order he became a legend throughout Italy and abroad. He became the subject of many Calabrian folk tales and popular songs. The 1950 film Il Brigante Musolino, by Mario Camerini, was based on his life. His real life events were also the subject of the concept-album Il Brigante Musolino by Otello Profazio.
- Eric Hobsbawm's concept of the social bandit (see also Hobsbawm, Primitive Rebels, 1959)
- Cesare Lombroso's "The Last Brigand" (1902)
- Dan Possumato's book (paperback edition) King of the Mountains. The Remarkable Story of Giuseppe Musolino, Italy's Most Famous Outlaw (2013) Kindle edition (2012), Audiobook Edition, read by Italian actor Edoardo Camponeschi (2014)
- L'Italia del XX secolo. Vol. I volume (1899–1908). 1977. pp. 86–87.
- Biografia di un bandito. Giuseppe Musolino di fronte alla psichiatria ed alla Sociologia. di E. Morselli e S. De Sanctis, Fratelli Treves Editori.
- Italian Brigand Musolino Captured, The New York Times, October 17, 1901
- L'arresto di Musolino e l'opinione pubblica in Calabria – Corriere della Sera 22–23 ottobre 1901.
- A proposito dell'apologia di Musolino – Corriere della Sera 27–28 ottobre 1901.
- Strano interrogatorio dell'imputato – Corriere della Sera 18–29 aprile 1901.
- Il processo di Musolino a Lucca – Corriere della Sera 17–18 aprile 1902.
- Il processo Musolino va avanti – Corriere della Sera 20–21 maggio 1902
- Dopo l'arresto di Musolino – Il Mattino 20–21 ottobre 1902.
- Enrico Deregibus (October 8, 2010). Dizionario completo della Canzone Italiana. Giunti Editore, 2010. ISBN 978-8809756250.
- "Musolino and the Law", from Old Calabria (1915) by Norman Douglas
- (in Italian) Arrestato il famoso e temutissimo brigante Musolino, La Domenica del Corriere del 27 ottobre 1901
- (in Italian) Il processo contro il brigante Musolino, La Domenica del Corriere del 4 maggio 1902
- (in Italian) Il rientro del bandito Musolino nel carcere, La Tribuna Illustrata del 4 maggio 1902