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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Godfather's Luxury Villa Converted to Restaurant and Bed and Breakfast

A LUXURY villa once owned by one of the Mafia's most ruthless godfathers reopened yesterday as a restaurant after being seized by the police.

Godfather's Luxury Villa Converted to Restaurant and Bed and BreakfastLovers of traditional Sicilian cuisine are expected to flock to the three-acre estate that used to belong to Salvatore 'the Beast' Riina.

The lavish property and its grounds have been turned into a farm-holiday restaurant and bed and breakfast.

Roberto Maroni, the interior minister, said the villa's transformation would boost the fight to convert not just property but also "consciences".

He added: "I hope this will be the start of a reaction in hearts and minds to achieve the final objective of definitively defeating the Mafia and giving this magnificent land back to honest citizens."

Almost £480 million worth of property has been confiscated in the province of Palermo this year alone, he said.

The villa was converted by the Pio La Torre Co-operative, named after a famous anti-Mafia land reformer shot dead in 1982. The manager, Floriana Di Leonardo, said it would be able to feed 90 people and had 16 rooms for anyone to stay over "if they've had a bit too much".

Riina unleashed a bloody assault on the state in the early 1990s, killing two anti-Mafia judges. He was caught in 1993.

Thanks to Nick Pisa

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