On the night between 28th and 29th June 2004 a group of young men and women placed in downtown Palermo hundreds of white stickers with  a sentence framed in black – to recall mourning papers – that read:

 “A whole people that pays protection money is a people without dignity.” 

This phrase, highlighting the effects of the mafia’s social and economic control, was a blow to the pride of the Sicilian people: the King is Naked, the Taboo is broken, and a media storm exposed the pervasive and silent spread of extortion in Sicily until that time. 

Since 2004, the “Stickerers” of Addiopizzo have conducted a “low-intensity communication guerrilla,” posting in different neighborhoods  stickers and banners (hence their name, Stickerers) with anti-mafia messages, creating fertile ground for what has developed into a grassroots cultural revolution.



Addiopizzo revolutionizes the concept of fighting the mafia by making every citizen responsible through the strategy of critical consumption. This collective practice encourages citizen-consumers to shop at businesses and companies that do not succumb to mafia pressures and extortion. 

At a time when no entrepreneur wanted to report extortion, Addiopizzo collected and published 4,000 signatures from citizen-consumers committing to support those who reported extortion. 

This happened in May 2005, marking the evolution of the guerrilla campaign that began with the stickers a few months earlier.

Bolstered by those 4,000 signatures,  in 2006 Addiopizzo managed to launch the first list of extortion-free businesses in Palermo, counting 100 of them. 

Today the network of mafia-free businesses is a  growing network of merchants, artisans and entrepreneurs supported by the community, overcoming isolation and discouraging any possible mafia retaliation and joining this network is completely free of charge for local economic operators. As citizen-consumers supporting this network with purchases is not only a moral duty but also an act within everyone’s reach, allowing anyone to contribute to the common fight against mafia oppression in Sicily.



On May 5th 2006, Addiopizzo brought together schools, business owners, associations and supporters of the “Change Your Consumption Against Extortion” campaign in Piazza Magione, a symbolic place of civic rebirth: a square that for decades remained devasted,  a heap of World War II rubble where Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino spent their childhood, finally reclaimed and returned to the city in year 2000. 

The Festival/Fair bears in its name the pride of this community of Sicilians who rebel against extortion and any mafia oppression, promoting the culture of Common Goods, social inclusion, solidarity, and civil responsibility. 

The event, concluding a year of activities, is a moment of gathering and sharing, annually summarizing the projects carried out and collectively discussing new goals to achieve. It is a place for debates, sports and creative activities for adults and children, and artistic and cultural dissemination. Many artists have contributed by participating in the Addiopizzo Festival, including Pif, Giovanni Sollima, Teresa Mannino, Ficarra and Picone, Roberto Lipari, Lello Analfino, Akkura, Serena Ganci, Teatri Alchemici, Modena City Ramblers, Cisco, Corrado Fortuna, Waines, Angelo Sicilia, Salvo Piparo, Alessio Vassallo, Mario Venuti, I Percussonici, ‘Nkantu d’Aziz, Famiglia del Sud, Shakalab, Sandro Joyeux, the Sansoni brothers, Giovanni Di Giandomenico, QBeta, La Famiglia Rossi, I Ratti della Sabina, and Vittorio De Scalzi.



The media storm produced by the low-intensity communication guerrilla, described as a velvet glove revolution by Pina Maisano Grassi, quickly reached international news channels: from Germany to Japan, from Spain to the USA, various major newspapers came to interview and learn about the Addiopizzo community of businesses and activists. Several awards and recognitions have been given to Addiopizzo, including the ADI Design Index Innovation Award in 2013, the 2013 Social Entrepreneur of the Year award by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Bremen Peace Award 2017 by the Schwelle Foundation, as a positive model of encouraging initiative.



“The first thing the mafia controls is the vote. Poor vote collection leads to poor democracy.”  Libero Grassi.

 In its consideration on the extortion phenomenon, Addiopizzo also calls on politicians and trade associations to a pact of co-responsibility: invites mayoral candidates to sign anti-racket commitments and to publicly engage with the citizenry; in 2013 invites the representatives of the various political parties competing in the upcoming political elections to take charge of the Res Publica in opposition to the culture of mafia affiliation; supports the formation of the Libero Futuro anti-racket association and the Free Professionals association. 

In a short time, Addiopizzo managed to bring Libero Grassi’s issue of the quality of consent back to the public agenda, encouraging citizens to vote freely during elections..



The Festival of Saint Rosalia, known as U Fistinu, is a religious rite established in the 17th century to free Palermo from the plague. Over the years, it has also taken on a strong cultural and artistic component, attracting thousands of believers and spectators. 

In 2005, Addiopizzo hung a banner from a balcony on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, under which the Saint’s chariot would pass, with the words: “Saint Rosalia, free us from extortion.” Seven years later, in 2012, Addiopizzo was invited to pull the Saint’s chariot for the 388th edition of the Festival, dedicated “To those who perform miracles,” welcoming small and large stories of Palermitans who dedicate their lives daily to those who suffer and live on the margins, from Amadou who escaped a shipwreck to Brother Biagio Conte.