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Tommaso Buscetta: who was he? All about the mafia repentant played by Pierfrancesco Favino

Tommaso Buscetta, known as Don Masino, was considered the boss of both worlds, due to his mafia activity and between Europe and America. Tommaso Buscetta is also the greatest repentant of the Mafia, a collaborator of justice who revealed everything about the Cosa Nostra to Falcone and Borsellino. Let’s find out every detail.

Read also: Pierfrancesco Favino: age, wife Anna Ferzetti, children, movies, height, heritage, Instagram

Who was Tommaso Buscetta?

Tommaso Buscetta, jargon called Don Masino, was considered the boss of the two worlds, due to his criminal activity between Europe and America. He knew everything about the Cosa Nostra, as he knew the life, death and miracles of the Sicilian mafia in the United States.

Pierfrancesco Favino plays the boss Tommaso Buscetta / Photo:

In any case, Buscetta was the very first collaborator of justice to bring all the secrets and mechanisms of the affairs of organized crime to the table of the Italian magistrates.

1972: Arrest of Tommaso Buscetta / Photo:

He was the first major repentant of the Mafia to have betrayed the Cosa Nostra by revealing its structure and secrets. He was a key figure in the investigations of Judge Giovanni Falcone, because he allowed the Sicilian underworld fabric protected by silence to be put in black and white.

Giovanni Falcone and Tommaso Buscetta / Photo: YesLife

The life of Tommaso Buscetta

Tommaso Buscetta was born in Palermo on 13 July 1928 and immediately proved to be a smart, attentive boy who has too much desire to grow up quickly. In fact, he married very young at 16 and to get by, the family began undertaking activities related to the black market. Buscetta begins to smuggle cards for the rationing of flour. With the arrival of the children, family needs grow. He decides to emigrate to Argentina where he opens a glass factory in Buenos Aires. A few years later, however, business is not going well and Tommaso Buscetta returns to Sicily, in Palermo. His hunger for wealth and power led him to take a bad path: that of the Mafia.

Tommaso Buscetta always elegant / Photo:


In Sicily in the early eighties a war is underway between the mafia gangs for control over drug trafficking. Boss Tommaso Buscetta flees to Brazil to hide and, from afar, helplessly witnesses the murder of his two sons and brother in Palermo. After being arrested by the Brazilian authorities, the criminal is extradited to Italy. Back home, Buscetta takes an epochal decision, which will shed light on the internal structure of Cosa Nostra, on its rules and on its functioning: to meet the magistrate Giovanni Falcone and collaborate with justice, uncovering the whole Pandora’s box.

Mafia repentant Tommaso Buscetta during the trial / Photo: Rai Cultura

Pierfrancesco Favino The Traitor / Photo: YouTube

The three wives of the boss

Buscetta was born into a family living in extreme poverty, the youngest of 17 children. Married three times, he had seven children. The first marriage dates back to 1945, just seventeen, with Melchiorra Cavallaro with whom he had the first four: Felicia, Benedetto, Domenico and Antonio. He then married Vera Girotti in 1966 from whose marriage two daughters were born. Alessandra and Lisa. The last wife is the Brazilian Cristina de Almeida Guimaraes, married in 1960, from whose marriage Roberto was born.

With his second wife and two daughters Alessandra and Lisa / Photo: Corriere della Sera

During an interview with the journalist Enzo Biagi, Don Masino revealed that he lost his virginity at the age of 8, with a prostitute paid with a bottle of oil.

With his third wife Cristina and son Roberto / Photo: Remocontro

What happened to them

Traces of his first wife have been lost, even after his move to America. For a period Tommaso Buscetta lived as a bigamist, in perfect balance as a viveur between his Sicilian wife and his second wife, Vera Girotti. He lived in Brooklyn and, in order not to betray himself, he bought two wardrobes of identical clothes for the two houses, dined twice, celebrated two Christmases. In the meantime he met Cristina, the last wife and the woman with whom he lived until the last of his days.

In truth Buscetta was never bigamous for the law since he had married Vera with the non-existent name of Manuel Lopez Cadena, a pseudonym with which he hid himself from the law and from enemies. The second marriage was void. Vera has disappeared into the deepest mystery, which no one dares to imagine. The two daughters remained with Don Masino.

Third wife Cristina has lived in Florida under a false name for thirty years. The Brazilian wife of the repentant and her closest family members live under a false name and in various locations, after the boss’s entry into the Witness Protection Program, program that provides for the protection of witnesses of justice.
His son Roberto under a false name served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Buscetta Junior in a single interview where he is with his face in shadow says:

Killing Tommaso Buscetta’s son would be the perfect trophy! There is always a risk, the mafia does not forgive!

Masterful interpretation for Favino in the role of the Boss with the iconic sunglasses, a must also in the courtroom / Photo: La Sicilia

The cause of death

After making headlines for a cruise in the Mediterranean, Tommaso Buscetta discovers he has end-stage cancer and dies on April 2, 2000, at the age of 71, in the United States. Buscetta is buried under an assumed name in North Miami, Florida. Here he had lived most of his life with his third wife and family.

Photo: The Republic

Why is Tommaso Buscetta the Traitor?

Don Masino defines himself as a soldier of the Cosa Nostra, a simple executor, a man of honor and pacts. Arrested in Brazil, subjected to torture, extradited to Italy, becomes a collaborator of justice, questioned by Falcone, becomes the traitor as a matter of honor, even if many did not understand. As a soldier he defines the mafia as a journalistic invention and rejects the definition of repented.


Buscetta’s story was told in a masterpiece film, The Traitor, masterfully directed by director Marco Bellocchio. In the role of the boss there is an exceptional interpreter: Pierfrancesco Favino. The film faithfully recounts the life of the repentant, highlighting the emotional and historical aspects, but above all the role of the mafia in Italy and in the world as a criminal organization.

Pierfrancesco Favino The Traitor and Don Masino / Photo:

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