What is the Centre

What is the Centre. Founded by Umberto Santino and Anna Puglisi in 1977, the Sicilian Documentation Centre was the first study centre on the Mafia in Italy. The name of Giuseppe Impastato, a new left activist murdered by the Mafia on 9 May 1978, was soon added to its masthead.

The purpose. The Centre’s purpose is to develop awareness of the Mafia and other similar organisations at both a national and international level; to develop initiatives aimed at fighting such organisations; to debate and to promote a culture of legality, development and a high level of democratic participation.

The activities. To such an end, the Centre carries out the following activities: the collation of political, economic, historical and sociological data; the organisation of research; the promotion of cultural initiatives (conferences, seminars, public meetings, exhibitions, etc); the publication of books and various material. The Centre has also been active in both the peace movement and the movement for the globalisation of democratic participation and human rights.

In the course of its activities the Centre has developed a specialised library on the Mafia and other forms of organised crime; it has engaged in educational work within schools and universities, both in Italy and abroad; it has initiated mobilisations (starting from the first national demonstration held in Italy against the Mafia, which took place in May 1979) and acts of solidarity, as well as playing a key role in investigating the murder of Giuseppe Impastato.

The ‘Mafia and Society’ project. Through the ‘Mafia and Society’ project the Centre has developed a scientific analysis of the Mafia, carrying out research on murders committed in Palermo, on Mafia front companies, on international drug trafficking, on the links between the Mafia and politics and on the anti-Mafia movement.

(Tom Behan)


A Centro Impastato initiative. The No Mafia Memorial – Workshop for figthing the Mafia: work in progress…: the No Mafia Memorial – Workshop for fighting the Mafia is a project on which the Centro Impastato has been working for many years. It is an on-going workshop for the creation of a multi-media space to contain: a museum trail on the Mafia and anti-Mafia, tracing these phenomena from their origins to the present day; an educational workshop, managed by teachers and students; a library, a mediatech, a document archive and a data base; an area for research, meetings and planning. In short: an active space, not simply a museum to visit.

The promoters: the Centro Impastato and the Palermo City Council. In December 2015 the Palermo City Council accepted the plan put forward by the Centro and approved creation of the No Mafia Memorial.

Partners. The Centro and the Council are supported by the RAI (Italian State Broadcasting Service), the Banca Etica, Cesvop (Centre for the voluntary sector in Palermo), the Regional forum for the Third sector, the Casa Memoria Felicia e Peppino Impastato and the antiracket association Addiopizzo. Its media partners are the comunications agencies YesIAm and Visiva.

Membership. The project has a large number of members at local, national and international level. They include the family members of victims, foundations and associations, students, teachers, jurists and journalists.

The building. Palazzo Gulì is in Corso Vittorio Emanuele 353, in the historic centre of Palermo, a pedestrian area following the recognition by Unesco of Arab-Norman monuments as a World Heritage Site.

How to support the Centre and No Mafia Memorial. By a payment to the current account with Banca Etica using IBAN: IT49G0501804600000012327615; BIC/SWIFYT: CCRTIT2184N. By Paypal or credit card; through collections on social media, by joining crowdfunding; by becoming a supporter or friend of the Memorial, by giving an object, a curio or a work of art, or by supporting the work of the Memorial as a volunteer. There is a website www.nomafiamemorial.org which contains news and through which contributions can be made. There is also a Facebook page.


Publications in English

  1. Umberto Santino, The financial mafia. The illegal accumulation of wealth and the financial-industrial complex, “Contemporary Crises” 12, September 1988, pp. 203-243, www.centroimpastato.com.
  2. Umberto Santino – Giovanni La Fiura, Behind Drugs. Survival economies, criminal enterprises, military operations, development projects, Gruppo Abele, Turin, 1993.
  3. Umberto Santino, The Law Enforcement in Italy and Europe against mafia and organized crime, W.F. McDonald (editor), Crime and Law Enforcement in the Global Village, Anderson Publishing Co., Cincinnati, 1997, pp. 151-166, www.centroimpastato.com.
  4. Umberto Santino, From the mafia to transnational crime, “Nuove Effemeridi”, Industry of violence, XIII, n. 50, 2000/II, pp. 92-101, www.centroimpastato.com.
  5. Umberto Santino, Mafia and Mafia-type organizations in Italy, J.A. Albanese, D.K. Das, A. Verma (editors), Organized Crime. World Perspectives, Prentice-Hall, 2003, pp. 82-100, www.centroimpastato.com.
  6. Umberto Santino, Studying Mafias in Sicily, 2011, www.sociologica.mulino.it.
  7. Umberto Santino, Mafia and Antimafia. A Brief History,  translation by Roger Dean, I.B. Tauris, London-New York, 2015.
  8. Umberto Santino, Mafia and Antimafia yesterday and today, translation by James Campbell, Centro Impastato – No mafia Memorial, Palermo, 2019.