Postcard from... Milan


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The Independent Online

Much is heard about Italy’s criminals and mobsters, but rather less about the brave people who stand up to them.

The last time Milan considered naming a place in the city after a famous person, it was the corrupt ex-premier Bettino Craxi who was to be honoured.

So those on the right side of the law have hailed plans to name a precious patch of greenery in Milan’s city centre after a woman who took on the mob and paid the ultimate price.

Lea Garofalo was abducted and killed by ’Ndrangheta thugs led by her ex-partner in November 2009, after she gave evidence against them.

In May, an appeal court confirmed the life sentences against Carlo Cosco and his accomplices. All six were jailed thanks to evidence provided by Lea’s daughter Denise Garofalo, despite receiving threats against her own life.

Denise, who was given a new identity,  said her mother “paid with her life for her decision to give me a better future, far from the blood and the feuding”.

An anti-mafia group plans to turn wasteland in Via Montello into a public space and name it after Lea Garofalo. The position is symbolic, too. Garofalo Gardens will lie almost opposite Cosco’s old home and the ’Ndrangheta headquarters.