ROME (Reuters) - When Don Corleone’s daughter got married in the film “The Godfather,” the guests kissed his hand and he dispensed favours because no Sicilian Mafia boss could refuse a request on his daughter’s wedding day.
But when the real thing took place in Corleone, the Sicilian hill town made famous by the movie, the Mafia’s former “boss of bosses” Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina could only read about it in newspapers Thursday from inside prison.
Lucia Riina, his 28-year-old daughter, was married on Wednesday and, in the absence of her father, given away by her brother, Giuseppe.
Besides her father, other members of Lucia’s extended family also could not attend, including brother Gianni and uncle Leoluca Bagarella, who were also Mafia bosses and are also behind bars.
“Our thoughts go to those who could not be here,” the groom, Vincenco Bellomo, told the guests, according to reports in Italian newspapers.
Giuseppe, who was freed from jail in February after serving time for Mafia crimes, also thanked their father, whose Mafia nickname was “the Beast” because of his ruthlessness.
“You should be paying for the (media) rights,” Giuseppe joked to reporters, according to La Repubblica newspaper.
The wedding, which took place in a church in Corleone, enticed the media but shocked Mafia victims.
“Whoever marries them becomes an accomplice,” Sonia Alfano, daughter of a Sicilian journalist killed by the Mafia, told La Repubblica.
“The newlyweds never disassociated themselves from the barbarous mobsters, but instead thanked them.”
Corleone Mayor Antonino Iannazzo was neutral, describing the couple as “two private citizens” who followed the rules to publicly marry and who should be respected.
Salvatore Riina’s arrest in 1993 after nearly a quarter of a century on the run ended a violent reign which saw a clan war and challenge to authority dramatized by the murders in 1992 of anti-Mafia magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Editing by Philip Pullella and Mary Gabriel