FOLKLORE: His record 43 years as a fugitive turned this reticent boss into a kind of wiseman of the wise guys. His ability to evade authorities, who'd organized the greatest manhunt in Cosa Nostra history, was legendary as he cut off contact with his family and moved constantly from one safe house to the next in the Sicilian countryside. He was able to run the Mafia empire with the use of pizzini, tiny typed notes that were delivered by hand by his trusted lieutenants. The deeply Catholic Provenzano possessed five bibles found when he was nabbed; one copy was filled with cryptic notes and underlining that some believe are a code to many of the Mafia's oldest, darkest secrets.
UGLY TRUTH: Though known as the man who brought a "pax Mafiosa" to the organization after a particularly bloody period, Provenzano rose through the ranks with a reputation as cold-blooded killer. Ultimately, though, the most chilling part of his legacy was an ability to impose a peace on his Mafia underlings. For Cosa Nostra is at its most potent when it is quietly going about its work in the rackets while infiltrating the above-board economy.
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