“Casa Memoria Felicia e Peppino Impastato” is the House-Museum in Cinisi dedicated to remembering the legacy of Peppino Impastato and his mother Felicia.
Peppino, an activist who fought against Mobsters, their corruption, and their oppression, all for the sake of social justice, and was assassinated by the will of the mobster boss Gaetano Badalamenti.
Mama Felicia broke through the silence that was pressured onto her by Sicilian society to let the world know the story of her son; She was the first woman whom, once she married into a mafia family, following the tragic death of her son, fought against the culture of omertà (The custom of staying silent about mafia related events to avoid trouble). She opened the door to her house to spread Peppino’s story and to let the more corrupt aspects of our society and social apparatuses be known. Felicia, known as an “anti-mafia partisan” and a “Woman of democracy” passed away on December 7th 2004, after a long and difficult path to obtain justice for Peppino. With resilience and grit she pushed past her tiredness, fear, and physical weakness, without ever surrendering before the many obstacles and those whom, despite being part of institutions that should’ve upheld justice, attempted to ruin Peppino’s legacy and to tarnish it forever, accusing him of terrorism first, and of being suicidal later once the terrorism charges had been dropped. It cannot be overstated how lacking the government was, this being only partially helped by honest magistrates, many of whom paid for their dedication to Justice and the safety of our country with their lives.
Gaetano Badalamenti, Cinisi’s mob boss and target of many of Peppino’s political work and accusation, was only convicted in 2002, 24 years after Peppino’s murder. On December 7th 2000, the Parliament’s Anti-Mafia Commission delivered the unanimously agreed upon decision that recognized the magistrature and high commissioners’ role in the accusations that misdirected the Investigations on Peppino’s murder. Felicia, after having accomplished her goal and being a crucial element in the trial that led to Badalamenti’s life sentence, passed away, but not before promising to keep the doors to her house open even after her death. Her family member, with the help of a few activists and supporters, maintained her will by keeping the doors to this house open. The house became a House-Museum in the spring of 2005.
In 2012 “Casa Memoria Impastato” became recognized as an important cultural monument by the Sicilian Region Overseer Tano Gullo.
“Casa Memoria” is now recognized as a “secular altar” (As described by Umberto Santino, then president of the Impastato Center); It is dedicated to remembrance, effort, and community, to the spreading of truth and culture, and is an outpost for the good fight against the Mafia, it represents liberty, social justice and democracy, it is a concrete representation of the experience of fighting a fight without remorse, of entire lives spent with fierce courage and determination.
Thousands of people have walked and continue to walk through the door, now a symbol of anti-mafia sentiments in and of itself, in search of knowledge, history, and of a moment of silence and reflection, and all of them have gained their own small piece of freedom. With pride we send our friends and visitors our sincere thanks.
The “Casa Memoria Felicia e Peppino Impastato” association, inaugurated on July 2010, is formed by the Impastato family members and a few friends; The family has fought for justice and truth for the better part of 34 years, and thanks to their collaboration with the Sicilian center of documentation Giuseppe Impastato in Palermo, they formally became an associated group.
Throughout the years the association has taken care of many important initiatives, not only the events in remembrance of Peppino that take place every 9th of May (the day of his death), and of Felicia Bartolotta Impastato every December 7th (the day of her death), but also cultural events, with the goal of pushing awareness of their cause. It’s important to remember the results obtained during the many battles fought by the organization, among which are the property that once was the house of the mobster boss Badalamenti; And the fight to renovate the lodge in which Impastato was murdered, the request to open investigations on institutional misdirection following his murder; And the official recognition of “Casa Memoria” as a Cultural and Historic monument, and as a symbol of the never-ending fight against the mafia.
The association “Casa Memoria Felicia e Peppino Impastato” accomplishes their daily educational and cultural goals towards moving past the Mafia’s mentality and any form of oppression, they carry forward many efforts in their region with the goal of helping future generation, with formative events and job prospects.
Translated by Giuseppe Palazzolo