Letizia Battaglia - photo journalist who covered the Mafia

Photo Journalist who covered the Mafia wars dies aged 87

By Region News The Islands

Historic Italian Mafia photo reporter Letizia Battaglia died Wednesday at the age of 87, her family said. Battaglia worked for the prestigious Palermo newspaper L’Ora, chronicling the Mafia wars.

Letizia Battaglia captured dramatic images of assassinations of anti-Mafia politicians and magistrates during the Mafia wars which saw dozens of bodies strewn across the island of Sicily.

One was the photo of now president Sergio Mattarella holding the body of his brother Piersanti, the head of the Sicilian regional government assembly, in January 1980.

Other iconic images included magistrate Giovanni Falcone, slain by the Mob in 1992, quizzing the first major Cosa Nostra informant, Tommaso Buscetta. There was also, in the late 80s, the long legal battle of Christian Democrat titan Giulio Andreotti against charges of helping the Mafia. It went on so long, he could not stand trial for his crimes before 1980 as they were beyond the time limit.

Award-winning photographer

Twitter tribute to Letizia Battaglia with quote.

 Battaglia was the winner of the Eugene Smith and Eric Salomon awards. She also worked for major world news and photo agencies.

In the late 80s and early 90s she was a Green member of Palermo’s city council.

A TV series on her life starring Isabella Ragonese and directed by Roberto Andò was already slated to appear on Rai state broadcaster soon. Shooting the Mafia, filmed in 2019, is a documentary on her work. By showing the true horror of the Mafia, she brought reality to those who had a rather romantic view of Sicilian organised crime.

Tributes to Battaglia poured in Thursday and Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando called her a “symbol” of the city.

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