Mafia tourism. Known for ruthless violence and strong family loyalties, the Sicilian gangster are iconic figures with hoards of tourists travelling to Sicily, just to get a flavour of the lifestyle. Travel companies have long capitalised on this fascination, with many offering tours to see locations where The Godfather was filmed.
Bar Vitelli in Savoca, location for several scenes in the Godfather movie, is a popular tourist destination. The hillside village Savoca, near Taormina, where Michael Corleone began his romance with his first wife, Apollonia, sees countless visitors every year. And Corleone, south of Palermo, where Don Corleone takes his name from, and also the surname of Sicily’s most feared Mafia family, is a popular pit stop, too.
When Roberto Escobar was the head accountant for the Medellín cartel, in the nineteen-eighties, he handled billions of dollars a year. Known as El Osito, or Little Bear, he was the older brother of the narcotrafficker Pablo Escobar, who was then among the richest men in the world. Roberto was never as extravagant as his brother, he was accustomed to flying on private jets, and sent his children to a Swiss boarding school.
Today, Roberto Escobar, after serving years in prison, earns money by leading tourists around one of his family’s former safe houses. The house, a bungalow of white painted brick, can be reached by a gated driveway off a steep mountain road, roughly halfway between the Envigado plateau, where Pablo Escobar grew up, and the middle-class neighborhood in Medellín where he was gunned down by Colombian police, in 1993.
In 2014, Roberto founded a holding company, Escobar, Inc., to license the family name. But he is a minor player in a growing industry. An increasing number of people who knew Pablo Escobar, employees, relatives, and enemies are trying to sell versions of his epic life and death, encouraging a cottage industry of books, television shows, and documentaries.
No one disputes that Pablo Escobar was a murderer, a torturer, and a kidnapper. But he was loved by many in Medellín, and, increasingly, he is an object of fascination abroad.
New York mafia tour focuses on the 20th century Five Families of New York. You’ll hear names like Genovese and Gambino. The “Teflon Don” John Gotti and “Crazy” Joey Gallo, and of course, Lucky Luciano. This tours take you through the heart of Little Italy to the East Village and includes three stops in Midtown. This tour takes you to many of the most famous mob locations in Manhattan, from former headquarters of the biggest crime families to the exact spot where men were shot down in cold blood.
Mafia tourism. Thanks to the likes of Al Capone, Vito Corleone and Tony Soprano, Pablo Escobar and others the Mafia have captured the public imagination since the 1920s.
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