|“||In our world, it’s either one or zero. It’s a straight choice between two things: Either they’re an enemy on equal terms, or they don’t even exist. There’s no such thing as lower rank. Never think of the other guy as being less than yourselves. The second you do, they’ll start to trip you up.||”|
–Bartolo, 1932 Drug & The Dominos/Epilogue
Don Bartolo Runorata (バルトロ・ルノラータ Barutoro Runorāta) is the founder of the powerful Runorata Family mafia and a long-time confederate of Nebula's Cal Muybridge and Manfred Beriam, with whom he colludes during the early 1930s. Upon establishing contact with Huey Laforet in December 1934, Bartolo agrees to host a three-day casino party at Ra's Lance in February 1935 for reasons yet to be illuminated in full.
Bartolo appears to be over fifty in the 1930s, and has short brown hair—graying in the anime—and brown eyes. He has noticeable facial wrinkles and wears "intellectual-looking glasses," the frames of which are round in the novels and hexagonal in the anime.
Bartolo is a sharp and dignified man who does not suffer fools gladly. That he is able to remain composed and calm even when a bomb explodes mere feet away from him is a testament as to his strength of character as a mafia don. That strength is what inspires great respect and loyalty in his subordinates toward him.
Born in Italy prior to 1900, Bartolo eventually immigrates to America at an unknown age and founds the Runorata Family mafia in Newark, New Jersey. He raises his own family in a mansion on Newark's outskirts as the Family grows in power, first a father to multiple children and then becoming a grandfather circa 1924 when his eldest daughter gives birth to his first grandson Carzelio Runorata. Bartolo's bodyguards Gabriel and Juliano are frequently assigned to guard Cazze over the next several years—an assignment that proves shrewd when the twins successfully protect Cazze and Bartolo's son-in-law when they are attacked circa 1929. The incident is thereafter rumored to have ensured Cazze's place as Bartolo's eventual successor.
At some point before 1923, Bartolo meets the Immortal Begg Garrott and recruits him to manufacture drugs for the Family; that year, future executive Gustavo Bagetta joins the Family and will proceed to cause problems down the line. The 1920s also see Bartolo enjoying the fruits of a beneficial deal with a fellow New Jersey businessmen by the name of Genoard, who has agreed to refine and deliver drugs to the Runorata Family so that the Runoratas may sell them at a profit. In addition, Bartolo hires the famous assassin Vino on one occasion during the decade to assassinate the executives of several opposing Newark syndicates over the course of a single night—a feat for which Bartolo pays him an enormous reward.
By 1930, Bartolo has expanded the Runorata Family's manpower to over a thousand members and its influence into New York and other states, making the Family one of the most powerful Mafia syndicates on the Eastern seaboard. He has additionally welcomed additional grandchildren into the household, all of them living alongside their parents in his Newark mansion. When the Genoard patriarch passes away in October, his son Raymond and grandson Jeffrey jointly take over the Genoards' drug refining business; the Genoards and Runoratas' business relationship begins to sour over the following year.
On September 10, 1931, Lucky Luciano orders the death of Salvatore Maranzano and—or so it is alleged—the assassinations of other old-school mafiosi known as Mustache Petes. Bartolo is one of the Mustache Pete bosses who survives the alleged purge; when Luciano founds the Commission in the aftermath, Bartolo uses his own influence to keep the Runorata Family a step removed from the Commission's power and otherwise agrees to co-exist with the Commission rather than invite Luciano's anger.
After a year of deteriorating Runorata-Genoard relations, Raymond and Jeffrey Genoard's latest talk of potentially giving up the drug refining business spurs Gustavo to murder them both and dump the automobile containing their bodies into Newark Bay to make their deaths look like an accident in December. The Runoratas proceed to take over the Genoards' drug factory and pay off the employees. Although the murders have given the Runoratas direct control over the refining process, they were not murders Bartolo ordered Gustavo to carry out and thus are the latest in a series of issues Bartolo has had with Gustavo's actions; due to Gustavo's checkered past, Bartolo has received multiple requests from other Families asking him to hand over Gustavo so they might 'deal with him' in their own fashions.
Bartolo decides to give Gustavo a new mission: to secure a foothold for the Runoratas in Manhattan Island, where they have no territory despite otherwise being one of the most powerful organizations in New York. This task is a demotion of sorts, though Gustavo has no such inkling, as Bartolo has no particular desire to directly challenge one of the Five Families nor does he believe it likely the Runoratas can muscle their way into New York City given the current status quo. Nevertheless, Gustavo vigorously orders his men to begin selling drugs in Gandor Family turf, hoping to use the Gandors' refusal to partake in the drug business to the Runoratas' benefit. He also orders hits on Luck Gandor and Berga Gandor, two of the Gandor heads.
A wrench is thrown into Gustavo's plans when, at 1 PM on a late Demember day in New York city, a drug addict rams a truck into a passenger car in which Runorata mafiosi Sam Buscetta and Anselmo Jonell are transporting a bag full of Begg's latest drug—a bag that the drug addict—Roy Maddock—proceeds to steal. Gustavo and some or all of his men report the news to Bartolo back in the Newark mansion, news that Bartolo is less than pleased to hear not because it is egregious but because he deems it 'insignificant' enough for Gustavo to report in person. He reminds Gustavo that Gustavo is supposed to be in charge of the Manhattan business before leaving his study, intending to interact with his grandchild—presumably Cazze—later that day.
Perhaps on the night of December 28 or sometime thereafter, Keith Gandor contacts Bartolo to discuss Gustavo and presumably the ongoing Gandor-Runorata feud Gustavo has perpetuated. Any details of their conversation can only be inferred. It is likely Keith informs Bartolo of Gustavo pocketing some of the drug sale profits and misreporting the earnings to Bartolo, but it is clearly evident they negotiate a deal regarding the Gustavo situation: the Gandors have several moles established or already established within Gustavo's group of direct subordinates who can keep them informed as to Gustavo's movements; the Gandors will therefore actively strive to counter Gustavo's attacks; the Gandors will dismantle Gustavo's drug dens should they have the opportunity—such are the ideas that may have been established during first contact. Bartolo presumably promises not to retaliate if or when the Gandors confront Gustavo, and also presumably tells Keith he will welcome back any of Gustavo's subordinates who wish to return to Bartolo's leadership and asks him to relay the message as such.
On December 30, Cazze runs away from home and leaves a note to reassure his family he will return by the New Year. His assurance does not assure his father in the slightest, who frantically sends out his own subordinates to look for Carzelio while Bartolo only sends out a couple of his own bodyguards at most; though he is worried about his grandson, he is simultaneously mindful of Cazze's feelings and cautious about other Families catching wind of the missing potential heir.
Where Bartolo remains calm, his son-in-law soon accuses Cazze's guards of negligence; although one of the guards agrees it is his own fault, Bartolo tells his son-in-law to back down and reminds them both that Cazze would be shocked to return and find his guards punished for what he intended to be only a 'little trip' out of the house. A few minutes pass before a butler enters the room to whisper something in Bartolo's ear; Bartolo then informs those present that the Family has apparently received a phone call requesting a ransom payment be delivered to a certain bungalow and that the Family not call the police—the latter's implication that the kidnappers are more afraid of the police than the Runoratas one that he finds quite amusing. Cazze's father is too preoccupied with the idea that Cazze has been kidnapped to find anything humorous.
Later that night, Gabriel and Juliano ask Bartolo to permit them to "take care of [the] matter" by searching for Cazze personally. Bartolo reminds them that even he has no authority to give orders to subordinates when they are off-duty, but the twins remind him in turn that subordinates are allowed to do whatever they please off-duty so long as they do not harm the Family. Therefore, they would like to hunt for Cazze on their 'day off'. Bartolo fixes them with an "overwhelming look"—but, after judging them to be unfazed, approves their request. The twins set off into the night on their motorcycles a few minutes later, and successfully return to the mansion with Cazze the next day on December 31.
On January 2, 1932, Gustavo leads a raid on the Daily Days headquarters; the raid ends in the Gandors' favor. One of his disloyal subordinates who participates in the raid returns to Bartolo's mansion at some point between January 3 and 5 to report on what happened; he informs Bartolo that Gustavo somehow survived life-threatening injuries, that the police have recently started considering him a suspect in the Genoard murders, and that the Runoratas have ensured the "politicos" have agreed to pursue Gustavo only.
Bartolo muses that Gustavo is lucky, considering that certain other councils have been requesting Gustavo be turned over to their custody as of late. He explains that he would have relinquished the Gandors' territory to the Five Families even if Gustavo had succeeded in seizing it and that he would have likely abandoned Gustavo to the other Mafia if Gustavo failed—but now that Gustavo's failure may potentially land him in prison, Gustavo will have some protection from the Mafia's reach.
He proceeds to order his subordinate to establish a nonaggression pact with the Gandor Family; at the sight of Carzelio running toward him, he wonders whether the Gandors will be the Runoratas neighbors or enemies by the time Cazze is grown. His final remark to his subordinate is that he found Keith Gandor to be quite the eloquent and resolute man.
To be added.
- Bartolo has an small but unknown number of children and grandchildren by 1935. His eldest daughter is Cazze's mother.
- Bartolo and Molsa share the same birthplace. Nothing is known about the Italian city they hail from save for the fact it is not Lotto Valentino.