The majority of Italian mafia members do not have tattoos to indicate their affiliation with the organisation, although certain mafia groups do. The Stidda gang, for example, has a tattoo of five green marks in a circle forming a little star.
The star tattoo is used by the Stidda to identify their members. The five points of the star indicate I punti della malavita,” which is Italian for “the points of criminal life.” The group’s name comes from an Italian term that means “star,” which is why the star is the group’s famous tattoo symbol. Although some members receive this tattoo, it is not required by the group.
The phrase “morte prima di disonore,” which means “death before dishonour” in Italian, is a tattoo that persons who aspire to be members of the Italian mafia obtain. The phrase is usually paired by imagery of a scroll and a dagger in a military tattoo. The majority of mafia members do not have this tattoo, and getting one after doing time in prison is considered more respectable in mafia circles.
The majority of Italian mafia members prefer to keep a low profile and lack the characteristic tattoos found in other organised crime groups like the Yakuza.