Italian Mafia: Notorious Figures and Their Origins - Italian Mafia Surnames
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Italian Mafia: Notorious Figures and Their Origins – Italian Mafia Surnames

Italian Mafiosos are internationally recognized figures with a rich history that reflects the essence deeply embedded in Italy’s traditions. Each surname carries its own distinct personality and origin, with some tracing back to the oldest families in the region.

The captivating history of surnames corresponds to each region, encompassing unique characteristics and origins deeply rooted in the traditions of that place. Italy, comprised of 20 regions and their provinces, is a tapestry of ancient surnames.

Italy is renowned not only for its cultural heritage but also for its notorious male figures across various eras. The Italian mafia, a criminal organization that has operated for many years, has seen continuous efforts by the Italian state to combat its influence.

List of Italian Mafia Surnames

1. Salvatore Maranzano

Born in Castellammare, Sicily in 1886, Maranzano was the last to hold the title «Capo di tutti capi.» Despite his initial desire to become a Catholic priest, he eventually became associated with the mafia in his homeland. He was respected among his fellow criminals and had a fascination with Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire.

2. Giuseppe “Joe The Boss” Masseria

Born in Sicily in 1887, Masseria was an early leader of the New York Mafia, heading what would become known as the Genovese family. He solidified his position as the most powerful mafioso in the city during his reign.

3. Al Capone

Alphonse Capone’s exact birthdate is uncertain, with some placing it in the 1890s. Raised in Brooklyn, like many gangsters, he left school and grew up on the streets. By the 1920s, Capone had taken control of the black market in Chicago, amassing wealth through illicit activities.

4. Frank Costello

Born in Calabria, Italy, in 1891, Costello arrived in New York with his family ten years later. He forged strong friendships with Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, becoming key figures in mid-20th-century mafia leadership.

5. Lucky Luciano

Growing up in a Palermo village, Lucky Luciano arrived in New York at age 9 and left school at 14. Known for his intelligence and aggressiveness, he had brushes with the law as a teenager but skillfully evaded imprisonment.

6. Vito Genovese

Born in Naples in 1897, the once-called Don Vito arrived in New York in 1913, working under Masseria’s orders. He was close with Lucky Luciano, becoming his trusted confidant during the Castellammarese War and maintaining their friendship for forty years.

7. Joe Valachi

Joseph Valachi, born in 1903 in New York, came from a family of Neapolitan immigrants and joined organized crime at a young age. Known for his driving skills, he became a significant figure in the American mafia.

8. Joe Bonanno

Dubbed Joe «Bananas,» this Sicilian arrived in New York at 19. He associated with Al Capone and later, after Masseria’s assassination, became considered for leadership within one of «the five families» that controlled organized crime in New York.

9. Carlo Gambino

Known as Don Carlo (1902-1976), he led the Gambino Family, with their operations ranging from unions to waste collection.

10. John Gotti

Nicknamed The Dapper Don and The Teflon Don, Gotti was born in the Bronx to a Neapolitan father. At sixteen, he left school and joined the Fulton-Rockaway Boys, a Brooklyn teenage gang involved in car theft and other criminal activities. He later became associated with the Gambino family’s operations.

The saga of Italian mafia surnames weaves a captivating narrative of power, influence, and complex relationships within the underworld. These figures and their origins contribute to the lasting intrigue surrounding the Italian mafia’s history


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