Anti-mafia pasta to help pensioners
Special 'anti-Mafia' pasta will be on sale in Italy's main squares on Sunday with profits going to help the elderly, national senior citizens' resource network Auser said Thursday.
Auser plans to sell 100,000 packets of spaghetti produced by a youth cooperative using wheat grown on lands seized from mobsters around the Sicilian town of Corleone.
''The pasta on sale in squares on May 24 is good twice over, because every purchase helps the elderly to overcome loneliness and because the pasta, produced organically, is the fruit of young people who work on lands confiscated from the Mafia,'' Auser underlined.
Money collected will go towards the running costs of Auser's helpline for the elderly, which is aimed at Italy's five million senior citizens who live on their own.
Pasta is just one of a number of anti-Mafia products now available in Italy after a law was passed allowing local authorities to turn seized mobster property over to cooperatives for socially beneficial projects.
The countryside around Corleone, once dotted with dons' trophy villas or hideaway farms, is now producing honest fruits after a wave of confiscations from Cosa Nostra bosses.
Youth cooperatives have moved into the rural crime triangle between the fiefs of Corleone, Monreale and San Giuseppe Jato and have started making pasta, olive oil, wine, honey and other produce on the ex-Mafia lands.
Thanks to an agreement with the Coop supermarket chain, the products are now sold all over Italy.
Many of the products - including the spaghetti that will be on sale on Sunday - are made by the cooperative Placido Rizzotto - Libera Terra, named after a land reform campaigner murdered by the Mafia in 1948.
Italian authorities have made a point of putting confiscated Mafia property to good use, preferably something involving public institutions, so as to symbolise the return of the State's control.
A set of luxury apartments in Corleone belonging to Italy's bloodiest Mafia boss, Salvatore 'The Beast' Riina, has been turned into the local headquarters of the tax police.
Another youth cooperative in February transformed a three-acre country property once owned by Riina outside the town into an 'agriturismo', or farm-holiday restaurant-cum-inn.