At least ten people drown when the rubber raft they were in bounced and flipped. They were escaping Africa. They are not allowed in Europe, and so they travel clandestinely, as best they can, because ironically they must set foot in Europe in order to claim asylum. They cannot ask for help from the shores of Tripoli. (more…)
From today's La Repubblica. This man who paid lip service to anti-extortionists and anti-mafia movements was caught red handed pocketing part of the 100,000-EURO fee he charged a pastry-shop owner in order to renew his lease at the Palermo airport. At first he denied the (more…)
The Quattro Canti, officially Piazza Vigliena, the four-way intersection at the center of the historic city, in an 1865 photo by Robert Rive. Clean, no traffic, no trash on the ground. No products came prepackaged so there was no packaging to discard. The piazza was named for the Spanish Viceroy Villena who commissioned the showpiece. (more…)
Here is a shot of the art deco mosaic of Demeter, the goddess of grain, outside a bread bakery in the Capo market of Palermo. The mosaic is still there. The bakery recently closed. People are forming Facebook groups to save the mosaic, have it put in a museum.
We are deep into winter in Vermont and I am thinking about these blue and white places. Sicily is such a beautiful island. Scala dei Turchi is near the big town of Agrigento but actually in the smaller town of Realmonte, where I stayed for a few days in 2010. The white stone is hard-packed gypsum. Realmonte citizens are the happiest Sicilians I have yet found.
In the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the women of Danissini, in downtown Palermo, were renowned launderers for the rich and aristocratic. They took in the counts' and dukes' soiled, frilly white shirts, washed them in the stream you see here and ironed them. Danissini is one of the poorest parts of Palermo. (more…)