Italy is home to over 60 million people. It is also known as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. On the outside, Italy offers stunning landscapes, fresh foods, and historical sites. On the inside, Italy has an underworld of criminal organizations. Present day, the county holds the most powerful and richest crime syndicate.
The ‘ndrangheta crime group has been around since the late 18th century, corrupting the economy, medical field and government institutions. The ‘ndrangheta has been one of the most difficult criminal organization to stop. Their unwavering loyalty to family and strong connections in society has attributed to their success. In January, 300 members were taken to court, making this the biggest mafia trial in three decades.
Nicola Gratteri, the lead prosecutor, is working hard with his team to hold every member accountable. This trial to him, is personal. “I was born in Calabria, I love my land, and I want to see it free of the mafia” Said Gratteri to NBC News. While individuals such as Gratteri are working to stop criminals in a court of law, Vittorio Brumotti takes it to the streets.
Brumotti is a record-breaking cyclist and a reporter for a popular TV program called Striscia La Notizia. He uses his passion for cycling as a means for stopping crime. Brumotti frequently comes face to face with mafia bosses. He’s learned their greatest fear isn’t the police or guns, but a camera. With work like Brumotti’s, a camera is always following him meaning mafia members dislike him. “In many cases I got shot, but I’ve always survived. One time I had an armored car. They shot me through the door. One time they threw things from above. One time they almost shot me at head level but the bullets went passed.” Said Brumotti. While the work is deadly, he isn’t afraid. “It doesn’t frighten me to meet a boss or a boss in charge of a piazza or a pusher because when I’m in front of them I can feel the energy of the Italian citizens.” Said Brumotti.
While organized crime is a problem in Italy, there’s hope for the future. Educating the youth about organized crime is one way to prevent the problem in later years. Another is helping businesses financially during tough economic times so they don’t turn to the mafia for help. By also supporting individuals who fight against crime, Italy has the potential to be mafia free.
Brumotti’s latest book “Giro d’Italia nelle piazze dello spaccio” can be found on Amazon where all proceeds go to charity.