The suspected new head of the Sicilian mafia and 45 other alleged mobsters have been arrested by Italian police.

29 May, following the death of "boss of bosses" Salvatore "Toto" Riina in 2017.

It is thought to be the first such gathering of mafia families for more than 25 years.

"This is a sign that Cosa Nostra does not abandon its rules," Palermo prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi told a press conference. "And that despite the convictions, despite the trials, important people can return to play."

The meeting is seen as a major victory for the authorities.

"There is no room for this type of scum in Italy," Luigi Di Maio wrote on Instagram.

"The arrests … Represent one of the biggest blows on the mafia by the state. Mineo had been elected 'heir' of Toto Riina after his death "he added.

Italy village where mafia have stolen the right to vote

Mineo had previously been sentenced to five years in jail for mafia-related crimes during the so-called "maxi-trials" that ran from 1986-1992.

The case was spearheaded by prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino – who were later murdered by the mafia following the trial.

Once all-powerful on Sicily, the world's most famous crime gang has become increasingly ready to defy it.

Cosa Nostra's new cupola, "interior minister Matteo Salvini added on Twitter.

Agencies contributed to this report