Selected Works

Nonfiction
A look at life in little-known mountain towns of the Sicilian hinterlands.
A true account of the last years of an ancient Sicilian giant bluefin tuna trap.






Tags

In Palermo

Cops "afraid"

April 23, 2014

Tags: Santa Margherita Belice, agrigneto, sicily, carabinieri, robbery, thief, refusal to investigate, gold, jewelry, gone, unfair, incredible

Cactus at my cousin's place
Just got back from four days away in Santa Margherita Belice where I stayed at my cousin's place. She said a few years ago their home was robbed, twice.
"All the gold," she said, all the gold items her children had been given at birth, at baptism, at graduations, the bracelet her husband gave her (more…)

Procession of the Dead Christ and Sorrowful Madonna

April 19, 2014

Tags: Christ, passion, madonna, sorrowful, dolorosa, dead, Good Friday, Palermo, chiesa S. Maria La Nuova, Piazza San Giacomo La Marina



The Sicilians have a disconcerting custom of clapping for people in coffins. People they like. (more…)

Occupy Palermo: Homeless families organize

April 17, 2014

Tags: homeless, families, organize, assemblea, occupy, palermo

Our Housing Plan: OCCUPY EVERYTHING
OUR HOUSING PLAN: OCCUPY EVERYTHING!
This was a manifesto I found plastered to the front of the train station this morning, a place where the homeless, at least many of them, the single men, gather to accept food donations at night and sleep wrapped in blankets under the portico where they can stay out (more…)

Occupy

April 17, 2014

Tags: occupy, palermo, convent, homeless, families, delle vergini, cloister, squatters, home, children, eviction, sfratto

Antonella, her friend Cetty, and Cetty's newborn daughter, Nicole, in the Convento delle Vergini which they occupied.
From our kitchen balcony I can see the lights are on in the cloistered convent across Piazza Venezia. Since December 2013, the convent, empty for two years after the last three aged nuns living there were transfered, has been occupied by palermitan homeless families. I visited them two days ago. Ten families, 35 people, of whom 22 are children. (more…)

Home for Homeless Women

April 14, 2014

Tags: accoglienza femminile, fra biagio conte, suor mattia, homeless, women, mensa, dining room, via garibaldi, palermo, kindness, heart, sicily, sicilia, care, dignity

A corner of the 100-seat dining room of the Accoglienza Femminile of Fra Biagio Conte's Missione Pace e Speranza
Last week I visited the Women's Home, one of three centers comprising Brother Biagio Conte's Mission of Peace and Hope. It houses roughly a hundred homeless women, palermitans and immigrants, single women, women with young children and women with infants. It is housed inside the former convent of Saint Catherine of Sienna in Via (more…)

Ecce Homo

April 13, 2014

Tags: Ecce Homo, Behold the Man, Ecco L'Uomo

Ecce Homo by M. Guttilla, clay and cloth sculpture.
In Palermo I belong to a cultural non-profit called La Palermo Dei Misteri, or Palermo of Mysteries. A few times a month on Sunday mornings, we have a guided tour on some theme planned and executed by founder Professor Carlo Di Franco, an anthropologist and connoisseur of his city. This morning, Palm Sunday before the Passion (more…)

Mohammed makes my bouquet

April 12, 2014

Tags: vagabond, homeless, senza tetto, Mohammed, Mo, foro italico, seashore, camper, flowers, beach, wildflowers, bouquet, kindness, beauty, palermo, sicily, italy



I spent yesterday afternoon with Mohammed, a homeless Iranian architect, a vagabond by nature, a kind man who helps all the other homeless people less fortunate than he. He lives with three or four dogs, and visiting pigeons, cats, seagulls, lizards and human friends, in a camper by the sea, at the Foro Italico, (more…)

Palazzo Montevago Gravina di Ramacca

April 7, 2014

Tags: inventor, Marcello Lampone, Bottega Lampone, Palazzo Montevago Gravina di Ramacca



The Ferrara family owns most of this palace. They made their money with a local pasta factory, and when they sold it, they bought this palace, and spent six years refurbishing it, including the frescoes on the ceiling. The largest Murano chandelier came out of a Taormina hotel. Marcello Lampone eyed it and said (more…)

Marcello Lampone and part of the clock without hands

April 7, 2014

Tags: clock, no hands, marcello lampone, palermo, inventor, sicily, via Maqueda, Via del Bosco

This is just the bottom decorative part of a 6-foot-tall faceless clock he is making to install in the Provincial office building across the street, the palace where he was born.
Marcello Lampone has invented an electro-mechanical (non-digital) watch and/or clock with no minute- hand nor hour- hand. I cannot imagine how you can tell the time from it. He won't let me see it , or explain it, until it is patented. He is hoping for a sponsor to help him pay for the (more…)

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