Banker and politician born in Termini Imerese, Notarbartolo is considered the first great victim of Cosa Nostra in Italy. General manager of the Bank of Sicily and member of the historical Right, Marquis of St. John, Notarbartolo was born into an aristocratic family of Palermo, (the grandfather Francesco Paolo was Prince of Sciara) but soon remains orphaned of both parents. He grew up in Sicily and in 1857 he moved first to Paris, then in England, where he met Michele Amari and Mariano Stabile, two Sicilian exiles who influenced his political thinking.
Enlisted in 1859 in the “Sardinian army”, Notarbartolo joined the expedition of the Thousand with Giuseppe Garibaldi (1890) and after the battle of Milazzo remained as an official in the royal army. In 1865 became councilor to the police in urban Palermo under Mayor Antonio Starrabba (future 18th and 21st Prime Minister of Italy). In 1866 35,000 insurgents -mostly former partisans and disappointed veterans- took over the government of Palermo for seven days 1872 overwhelming the entire ruling class and pushing away Notarbartolo from politics for a while. From 1870 to 1873 he was responsible for the hospital. In 1872, while he was in his properties in Caccamo, the Marquis was kidnapped for a short period. To be released, he was forced to pay a substantial ransom.
In 1873 he was elected mayor of Palermo remaining in charge until September 1876. During his government, he implements various urban works, promoted the construction of the Teatro Massimo of Palermo and, above all, he tried to eradicate the phenomenon of corruption at customs. In 1876 he was appointed by the Government as General Manager of the Banco di Sicilia, trying with his authority to reorganize a bank that had been shaken after the “unification of Italy” and was on the verge of bankrupcy. Notarbartolo created a network of agencies and managed to save the bank and avoid collapsing the economy of Sicily. However, his work was not supported by most of the board of the bank -made of many politicians connected with the mafia. On February 1st, 1893, while he was on a train between Termini Imerese and Trabia, Notarbartolo was killed with 27 shots dagger from Matthew Filippello and Giuseppe Fontana, linked to Cosa Nostra .