Until the 2000s, when a mafia arrest took place, it was not uncommon to see a small group of mafia supporters gathered around the Flying Squad, that upon the arrival of the police car, would often cheer for the now-handcuffed boss and, in some cases, insult the officers.

On April 11th 2006 after 43 years on the run, Bernardo Provenzano was arrested. Upon hearing the news, the “Stickerers” of Addiopizzo gathered in front of the Squadra Catturandi offices to celebrate the event. Soon, the square opposite the station was filled with students, citizens, and onlookers. When the cars carrying the notorious fugitive arrived, to the agents’ amazement, chants of encouragement for the law enforcement officers began, such as “You are the true Sicily!”

This ritual was repeated over the following years during the arrest of other fugitives: the hooded agents were no longer “pigs” to insult but heroes to celebrate with. After the arrest of boss Raccuglia, police officers took a couple of t-shirts from Addiopizzo’s youngsters and waved them from the windows like flags.

The relationship of trust with law enforcement institutions created the foundation for a collaboration that led to many extortion reports from entrepreneurs who relied  on Addiopizzo.



A natural continuation of the initial anti-racket awareness effort, assistance with reporting and legal support soon became another area of action. Addiopizzo provides counseling service and free legal support to extortion victims through a dedicated help desk staffed by professionals and volunteers from the association. In assisting with reporting, Addiopizzo volunteers interact with judicial authorities and law enforcement to support the extorted or usury-affected economic operator and minimize the risks of overexposure. Psychological support aims to offer free counseling to help victims and their families cope with the delicate moment, regaining peace of mind and confidence. Once investigations are concluded, Addiopizzo also offers legal assistance by acting as a civil party, providing free support even in the courtroom. Similar efforts are made to access the Solidarity Fund for victims of extortion and usury, to ensure recognition of the economic benefits provided by law. Over the years, Addiopizzo has faced around one hundred trials, assisted over two hundred business owners in the reporting process, and provided counseling and technical-legal advice to many more.



It’s the dawn of July 31, 2007, and a black cloud rises over Palermo’s sky. It feels like a return to the terrible days of mafia reprisals in the ’80s and ’90s. An arson attack hits the paint warehouse of the Guajana hardware store, a historic business operating in distribution since 1876, which had joined Addiopizzo in the preceding months.

In a public statement, Addiopizzo expressed hope that all parts would “ensure the entrepreneur receives all necessary support to resume business” and “offers its cooperation to investigators to provide all information known to it that may help ascertain the facts and identify those responsible.”

Investigations confirmed the mafia origin of the attack, while civil society, now sensitive to the issue of extortion, loudly demanded that the entrepreneur would not be left alone.

Public pressure led to concrete institutional commitment: in October of that same year, the entrepreneur was assigned a new space to restart his business.

This incident, the only reprisal the mafia has carried out against Addiopizzo network businesses, ended successfully and sent an important message: no one will be left alone anymore.



The practice of critical consumption involves all Palermo citizens who consciously choose where to shop daily to avoid financing the mafia. To facilitate this relationship and show tangible solidarity to those going through difficult times, Addiopizzo periodically organizes critical consumption events at network businesses.

Expanding this strategy beyond the local context involves actively engaging two other categories of critical consumers: travelers and those who wish to support the movement but do not live in Palermo.

In 2009, the Addiopizzo Travel project was launched, a travel agency that works only with hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, and bus companies of the Addiopizzo network for its tours. The Addiopizzo Certificate was created, a seal to be affixed to products from mafia-free businesses; through the Addiopizzo Store website, it’s possible to have a piece of Sicily, the pizzo free one, delivered to your home.

The success of these initiatives demonstrates that not paying extortion is not only ethically right but also economically convenient.