From Quentin’s shady contacts in the recent season of the White Lotus to Robert De Niro’s iconic performance as a young Vito Corleone in the Godfather 2, the Sicilian Mafia has long captured the attention of storytellers across the globe. But this romanticised Hollywood portrayal (all suave sophistication and gratuitous violence) is a far cry from the realities of organised crime in Sicily – and its impact upon the people who live there. 

But Palermo’s Anti-Mafia movement aren’t too interested in what happens on the silver screen. This collection of brave business owners and activists want to show the world how the real Mafia casts a dark shadow over cities like Palermo. And by gathering together in opposition to its hugely destructive protection rackets, it wants to prove that opposition is possible through unity.

It’s a truly inspirational story. And the best bit? You can stroll through the elegant streets of Palermo on one of Contiki’s fave MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® experiences and learn all about it.

Once you’ve had your fill of beaches and vineyards, on Contiki’s Real Sicily trip, you’ll join up with a local guide in front of the opulent Teatro Massimo, one of the most jaw-dropping opera houses in Europe. Snaking through the historic centre, you’ll meet all of the business owners who have bravely united in opposition to the Mafia protection rackets.

At every stop you’ll learn about how this inspiring civic movement originally formed: with hoteliers, farmers, and restaurant owners staring down Mafioso culture and saying: “Enough”. (And remember, as this is a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® experience, you’ll be supporting the Anti-Mafia movement financially through Contiki, in alignment with the 11 goals of our sustainability strategy).

From confiscated Mafia HQs turned into educational community centres, to moving street art that documents the Anti-Mafia movement, this tour isn’t just about organised crime, but the very soul of Sicily: filled with beauty, culture, defiance and very, very good food. Make sure you stop by Antica Focacceria at the end of the tour (one of Palermo’s oldest eateries and a notable Anti-Mafia institution), and you’ll get a delicious idea of what we mean.