Europe

Italy's bloody battle with the Mafia

Published 2127 GMT (0527 HKT) May 5, 2016
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Notorious Mafia boss Leoluca Bagarella is arrested in Palermo, Italy, in 1980. Photographer Letizia Battaglia has spent her career documenting Mafia crimes in her native Sicily. Letizia Battaglia/Drago
Battaglia vividly remembers taking this photo in Palermo in 1975. She arrived at the scene when the man was still moving, and he was dead a short time later. Letizia Battaglia/Drago
Battaglia's new book "Anthology" also includes shots of regular Sicilians going about their day, such as this beach photo from 1982. "My archives are full of blood," she said. "But I have also seen such immense beauty in the regular, complicated daily life in Sicily." Letizia Battaglia/Drago
Prisoners are seen behind bars in Palermo in 1983. Letizia Battaglia/Drago
Judge Cesare Terranova, a member of the Anti-Mafia Parliamentary Commission, was killed in an ambush in 1979. Battaglia had to photograph many famous judges and anti-Mafia prosecutors while their bodies were still at the crime scene. "This was one of the most important men in Sicilian politics," she said. "When he was killed, I said nothing worse could happen. Nothing. It was not true." Letizia Battaglia/Drago
A woman and her children are photographed in Palermo in 1978. "I was shooting poor people, and I entered a house around noon," Battaglia said. "I asked her, 'Why are you in bed at this hour?' and she said, 'I have no fire, no light, no food ... what can I do?' People brought her spaghetti, but she was always in bed with the children. I always wondered what happened to this woman and those children." Letizia Battaglia/Drago
Rosaria Schifani, seen here in 1982, was the widow of bodyguard Vito Schifani, who was killed with Judge Giovanni Falcone. "She called me to shoot a picture for a book, but she was so beautiful that I said, 'Close your eyes, there is too much beauty.' I wanted to express silent pain." Letizia Battaglia/Drago
A woman falls to the ground after hit men killed a hotel owner in Capaci, Italy, in 1980. Letizia Battaglia/Drago
Men accused of organized crime hide from cameras at a trial in Milan, Italy, in 1971. Letizia Battaglia/Drago
Battaglia's photos also include young girls and Sicilian women who give her hope. Letizia Battaglia/Drago
Children play in Palermo in 1982. Letizia Battaglia/Drago
The picture from 1986 is one of Battaglia's favorites. "I went to the seaside to shoot something, and I saw this very strange table. Someone had organized a party on the seaside and I don't know why, but all that was left was this hen. It's poetic. I am looking for poetry in life. That's all I need." Letizia Battaglia/Drago