Some mafia groups occasionally receive tattoos, although the majority of Italian mafia members do not use distinctive tattoos to denote their membership. For instance, a common Stidda tattoo consists of five green marks in a circle that form a little star.
The star tattoo is used by the Stidda to identify its members. The five points of the star indicate I punti della malavita,” which translates from Italian as “the points of the criminal life.” The group’s name is derived from the Italian word for star, which explains why the star is its signature tattoo symbol. Although some group members have this tattoo, it is not required.
The word “morte prima di disonore,” which means “death before dishonour” in Italian, is a common tattoo among those aspiring to join the Italian mafia. Typically, the phrase is a military tattoo accompanied by a scroll and a blade. The majority of mafia members do not have this tattoo, and among mafia circles, it is more acceptable to receive it after doing time in prison.
The majority of Italian mafia members want to maintain a low profile and do not have any of the distinctive tattoos seen on members of other organised crime groups, such as the Yakuza.