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A gabellotto is the overseer of a large land estate. They were rural entrepreneurs who leased the lands from aristocrats more attracted to the comforts of the city. Many gabellotti were associated with, if not members of, the Mafia. Such alliances would allow them to protect themselves and their assets from bandits and cattle rustlers, as well as cut through much of the messy legalities left over from Sicily's transition from feudalism to capitalism in the early 19th century.