Capo di tutti capi

Capo di tutti capi

Capo di tutti i capi or capo dei capi is Italian for "boss of all bosses" or "boss of bosses". It is a phrase used mainly by the media, public and the law enforcement community to indicate powerful Bosses in the Sicilian and American Mafia (Cosa Nostra). The title has seldom been given to specific bosses because it could create tension between different factions (otherwise known as families) within the Mafia. Typically the title is awarded "de facto" to the boss of the most powerful mafia family.

In the U.S., between the late 1960s and the early 1990s, the Gambino crime family was regarded as the most powerful faction of the American Cosa Nostra. As a result, the leaders of the Gambino family during that time, starting with Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano, and later John Gotti, were considered as de facto "capo di tutti i capi" by the media. It is worth noting, that the U.S. Cosa Nostra has not proclaimed a "boss of bosses" position since Salvatore Maranzano, but is instead ruled by The Commission. Following the death of Maranzano Lucky Luciano was "de facto" "boss of bosses". He never declared himself as such, realizing the futility of attempting to impose himself as the ultimate leader of the American Mafia. [Raab, "Five Families", p. ??] In the Sicilian Cosa Nostra the title does not exist. For instance, the old-style Mafia boss Calogero Vizzini was often portrayed in the media as the "boss of bosses" – although such a position does not exist according to later Mafia turncoats, such as Tommaso Buscetta. [Arlacchi, "Addio Cosa nostra", p. 106] They also denied Vizzini ever was the ruling boss of the Mafia in Sicily. According to Mafia historian Salvatore Lupo "the emphasis of the media on the definition of 'capo dei capi' is without any foundation". [it [ Zu Binnu? Non è il superboss] ,Intervista a Salvatore Lupo di Marco Nebiolo, Naromafie, April 2006]

Nevertheless, the title is constantly given to powerful Mafia bosses until this day. During the 1980s and 1990s the bosses of the Corleonesi clan Salvatore Riina and Bernardo Provenzano were bestowed with the title by the media.

In April 2006, the Italian government arrested Bernardo Provenzano in a small farmhouse near the town of Corleone. His successor is reported to be either Matteo Messina Denaro or Salvatore Lo Piccolo. This presupposes that Provenzano has the power to nominate a successor, which is not unanimously accepted among Mafia observers. "The Mafia today is more of a federation and less of an authoritarian state," according to anti-Mafia prosecutor Antonio Ingroia of the Direzione distrettuale antimafia (DDA) of Palermo, referring to the previous period of authoritarian rule under Salvatore Riina. [ The Mafia after Provenzano-peace or all-out war?] by Philip Pullella, Reuters, April 12, 2006.]

Provenzano "established a kind of directorate of about four to seven people who met very infrequently, only when necessary, when there were strategic decisions to make." According to Ingroia "in an organization like the Mafia, a boss has to be one step above the others otherwise it all falls apart. It all depends on if he can manage consensus and if the others agree or rebel." Provenzano "guaranteed a measure of stability because he had the authority to quash internal disputes." [ The Mafia after Provenzano-peace or all-out war?] by Philip Pullella, Reuters, April 12, 2006.]

On Monday November 5th 2007, Sicilian police arrested Salvatore Lo Piccolo along with three other men. One of them being his Son Sandro. They were betrayed by one of Salvatore Lo Piccolo's closest lieutenants, Francesco Franzese. [ Mafia supremo arrested in Sicily] , AFP, November 5, 2007]

In Italy a fiction called "capo dei capi" relates the story of Salvatore Riina.



*it icon Arlacchi, Pino (1994). "Addio Cosa nostra: La vita di Tommaso Buscetta", Milan: Rizzoli ISBN 88-17-84299-0
*Raab, Selwyn (2005). "Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires", New York: Thomas Dunne Books ISBN 0-312-30094-8

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