MILAN — The leader of the 5-Star Movement has canceled a visit to the long-time Mafia stronghold of Corleone after his party's mayoral candidate said he wanted to open a dialogue with the families of Mafiosi.

Deputy Premier Luigi di Maio said Friday that "the state needs to be careful not to ever get close to those people."

Di Maio was scheduled to appear at a campaign rally for 5-Star candidate Maurizio Pascucci, but cancelled the appearance after seeing a Facebook post of his party's mayoral candidate with a relative of the late Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano.

Pascucci, who moved from his native Tuscany to Corleone four years ago, defended his position, saying that relatives of convicted Mafiosi "who take their distance" shouldn't be excluded from the community for life.