Giovanni Falcone

The clickable maps and pictures below illustrate facts about Giovanni Falcone. Giovanni Falcone (18 May 1939 – 23 May 1992) was an Italian prosecuting magistrate. From his office in the Palace of Justice in Palermo, he spent most of his professional life trying to overthrow the power of the Mafia in Sicily. After a long and distinguished career, culminating in the famous Maxi Trial in 1986-1987, he was killed by the Corleonesi Mafia in May 1992, on the motorway near the town of Capaci.

His life parallels that of his close friend Paolo Borsellino. They both spent their early years in the same neighbourhood in Palermo. And though many of their childhood friends grew up in the Mafia background, both men fought on the other side of the war as prosecuting magistrates. They were both killed in 1992, a few months apart. In recognition of their tireless effort and sacrifice during the anti-mafia trials, they were both awarded the Italian "Medaglia d'oro al valore civile" (Gold medal for civil valor). They were also named as heroes of the last 60 years in the November 13, 2006, issue of Time Magazine.

Early life

Falcone was born in 1939 to a middle-class family in the Via Castrofilippo near the seaport district La Kalsa, a neighborhood of central Palermo that suffered extensive destruction by aerial attacks during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. His father, Arturo Falcone, the director of a provincial chemical laboratory, was married to Luisa Bentivegna. Giovanni had two older sisters, Anna and Maria. Falcone's parents emphasised the importance of hard work, bravery and patriotism; he later said they 'expected the maximum' from him. At school Falcone would get into fights with larger children if he thought his friends were being picked on.

The Mafia was present in the area but quiescent; Tommaso Spadaro, a boy with whom he played ping-pong in the neighborhood Catholic Action recreation center, would later become a notorious Mafia smuggler and killer, but mafiosi were not a major presence in his childhood. As boys, Falcone and Borsellino, who were born in the same neighbourhood, played soccer together on the Piazza Mangione. Both had classmates who ended up as mafiosi. Falcone grew up at a time when Sicilians did not acknowledge the existence of the Mafia as a coherent organised group; assertions to the contrary by other Italians were often seen as 'attacks from the north'.

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Close places of interest

Velodromo Paolo Borsellino (6.1 km)

Velodromo Paolo Borsellino is a multi-use stadium in Palermo, Italy, located in the ZEN neighbourhood of the city, and currently home to local American football club Sharks Palermo and rugby football club Palermo Rugby 2005. It is named after Palermo magistrate and Mafia victim Paolo Borsellino. The venue, originally thought as a velodrome which could also serve as a multi-use stadium, was completed in 1991, and hosted the 1994 UCI Track Cycling World Championships held in Palermo. The venue was successively used by association football club U.S.

ZEN (Palermo) (6.24 km)

Zona Espansione Nord, also known as ZEN or San Filippo Neri, is an economically deprived quarter on the northern outskirts of Palermo, Sicily. It is located in the VII municipality and has a population of around 16,000 people. It was constructed in 1969, under the design by architect Vittorio Gregotti, and it consists of bleak, multi-storied housing projects, most of which are in a state of dilapidation.

Mondello (7.14 km)

Mondello is a small town near the city of Palermo in the autonomous region of Sicily in Southern Italy. Its beach lies between two cliffs called Monte Gallo and Monte Pellegrino. The town was originally a small fishing village situated on marshland, but at the end of the 19th Century it grew into a center of tourism. The numerous Liberty style villas on the seafront promenade made it one of the epicenters of Art Nouveau in Europe.

HMS Thetis (N25) (7.5 km)

HMS Thetis (N25) was a Group 1 T-class submarine of the Royal Navy which served under two names. Under her first identity, HMS Thetis, she commenced sea trials on 4 March 1939. She sank during trials on 1 June 1939 with the loss of 99 lives. She was salvaged, repaired and recommissioned as HMS Thunderbolt serving in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theatres until she was lost with all hands on 14 March 1943. This makes Thetis one of the few military vessels that have been lost twice with her crew in their service history.

Stadio Renzo Barbera (9.17 km)

Stadio Renzo Barbera (previously and still commonly known as Stadio La Favorita) is a football stadium in Palermo, Italy. It is currently home of U.S. Città di Palermo football team. The stadium was inaugurated on January 24, 1932 and was named Stadio Littorio in homage to the Fascism. The opening match was Palermo vs Atalanta, with Palermo winning 5–1. A track surrounded the pitch and there were no stands behind either goal. In 1936, the stadium was renamed Stadio Michele Marrone, in memory of a soldier killed during the Spanish Civil War.

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