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.






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Out of Palermo

Sedie Volanti

November 20, 2014

Tags: flying chairs, sedie volanti, palermo, transportation, bearers, sicily, sicilia, italia, italy

Two Flying Chairs
Near the end of the Capo street market in the quarter behind the Palermo cathedral is a narrow lane called Street of the Flying Chairs where once these elegant travel booths were made. The cabs were carried on long poles on men's shoulders and seemed to fly above the crowds. Men and women of (more…)

Tomatoes

November 4, 2014

Tags: tomato, pomodoro, Ballaro`, market, Palermo, sicily, sicilia, italy, Italia

tomatoes
The tomatoes look just as good as the persimmons.

Persimmons

November 2, 2014

Tags: persimmon, market, ballaro`, street, palermo, sicily, italy, sicilia, italia, fruit, frutta, gente, people, buy, sell

Persimmons at Ballaro` market
I ate my first persimmon in Palermo. You cut off the top and eat he flesh with a small spoon. So sweet, one does not talk while eating them. Friends will bring over a basket of them for dessert. They look like frosted tomatoes.

The Cuticchio family

October 17, 2014

Tags: cuticchio, puppet, sicilian, palermo, sicilia, sicily, italia, italy, culture, family, figli d'arte

A multi-headed monster puppet representing the Cuticchio family of puppeteers
In the hundreds of episodes that make up one drama from the repertoire of the Siciilan puppet theater, there is one many-headed monster which appears only once onstage. This lifelike sculpture is a spoof on that monster, representing instead the now-deceased head of the Cuticchio family and his children, puppeteers all, growing from his head.

Nut and seed store

October 15, 2014

Tags: store, seeds, nuts, cereals, kalsa, palermo, sicily, sicilia, italia, italy, cereali, semi

Loved this storefront
I found this nut and seed store while wandering the back streets of La Kalsa, the central Palermo neighborhood directly across the street from my palace rooms in Via Vittorio Emmanuele. I just liked the way it looked.

Heavy Lifting

October 6, 2014

Tags: Words or phrases to categorize this post for the tags section

Bookseller Pietro Tramonte (right) enlists the help of passsersby.
Moving books here is a community effort.

Inventor Marcello Lampone at play

October 1, 2014

Tags: Words or phrases to categorize this post for the tags section

I have spent the last two mornings reliving my three-hour encounter with Marcello Lampone, a 67-year-old Palermo inventor and blithe spirit. His bottega is near the intersection of Via Maqueda with Via del Bosco. Here he is at play.

Kids in the street

September 29, 2014

Tags: Missione Santa Chiara, palermo, sicilia, sicily, albergheria, ballaro`, immigrant, children, happy

I was walking home from an event at the Santa Chiara urban mission in the ancient, low-income Albergheria neighborhood of Palermo when these boys who were kicking a soccer ball around in the street said, "Take my picture! We'll be on YouTube!"

My favorite bookstore

August 18, 2014

Tags: Pietro Tramonte, books, Palermo, street, seller

Stacks in an alley near the post office.
So many stories in this little alley in a street parallel to Via Roma near the post office, and not all of them were in books. I got sucked into this vicolo by the books and I stayed for the bookseller, Pietro Tramonte. More on him tomorrow.

Feathery Chandelier

August 16, 2014

Tags: chandelier, Via Maqueda, palazzo, Palermo, sicilia, sicily, elegant, beautiful, milky, white, glass, Murano

Milky chandelier in a newly renovated palazzo in Via Maqueda, Palermo.
A chandelier hanging from what used to be a frescoed ceiling in a Via Maqueda palace.

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