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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November, 2003, 22:54 GMT
Godfather town mulls name change
Author Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo's novels contributed to Corleone's fame
Italian lawyer Antonio Di Lorenzo is making his Sicilian town an offer he hopes it can't refuse.

He has begun collecting signatures for a referendum to change the town's name: Corleone, made famous by the Godfather films and books.

He called the link with the fictional Mafia family "an historic illness we have to cure".

"Corleone and its people must take advantage of its fame to seek positive things, such as the fight against the Mafia and the economic and cultural advantage of everyone here," he told the Reuters news agency.

People come all the way from countries such as Denmark so they can say they got married in a Mafia town
Antonio Di Lorenzo,
name change campaigner

But Mayor Nicolo Nicolosi has derided the suggestion, calling a name change "pure folly" and "total rubbish".

The town is also the home of jailed real-life organised crime boss Salvatore Riina, who was arrested in 1993.

Riina's apparent successor Bernardo Provenzano, who has been on the run for decades, also hails from Corleone, south of Palermo.

The name entered the realm of Mafia myth through Francis Ford Coppola's films of Mario Puzo's novels.

Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro played crime boss Don Vito Corleone at various stages of his life in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II - both of which won best picture Oscars.

Mr Di Lorenzo said people had come to his town from as far away as Denmark for weddings "so they can say they got married in a Mafia town," Reuters reported.

He wants the town to revert to the name it held hundreds of years ago, Cuor di Leone, or Lion Heart.

The Italian television station Rai pointed out that Corleone's main square was named after anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were killed in 1992.

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