The Italians started the mafia concept back in Sicily, with the first mafia being the Sicily mafia. They have till date been the role models in the mafia culture. The code words for the mafia such as Cosa Nostra which means our thing and omertà which is the code of silence have developed the mafia as a strongly knit interconnected group that is the epitome of secrecy.
Till date they settle business disputes and court issues taking advantage of the slow moving courts in Italy. This taking advantage of issues in their own hands, lead to them moving to the main cities of United States such as New York and Chicago. In the 1920s they solved the alcohol demand by creating the illicit alcohol market.
Movies like The God Father and Scarface were signs of the Mafias growing ambitions and power. The movies not only highlighted their loyalty but also became super hits with the notion of mafia equaling success.
The Italian mafia competes with global gangs from all over the world, from the Chinese Triad to the Russian gangsters. Sometimes the same competitors tie up and become a team which gains local advantage and global support.
The Cosa Nostra, Camorra, and Sacra Corona Unita have the highest number of members with a great affiliation network.
Investigations have highlighted how the Cosa Nostra have intimidated local contractors and gained EU funded projects such as the wind farms in Sicily.
The mafia is also seen to be very patriotic for their country Italy, with instances of targets being Chinese run sweatshops making copies of Italian fashions.
The newer Camorra mafia are lesser hierarchical than the traditional mafia like the Cosa Nostra. They are lesser involved in politics.
With the signs of late, there is no stopping new mafia groups arising, but the traditional old mafias will always be a role model to the concept of mafia.