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

Out of Palermo

Palermo football donates 50,000 euro to Fra Biagio Conte's mission for the homeless

December 13, 2017

Tags: homeless, fra biagio conte, Maurizio Zamparini, soccer, Palermo football, donation mission of hope and charity, homeless, help, good, selfless

Despite the fact that the Palermo "Pink and Black" professional soccer team is going bankrupt, its owner, Maurizio Zamparini of Palermo, yesterday donated 50,000 euro
($59,140) to the incredible homeless mission founded and run by Fra Biagio Conte, a self-made monk who has dedicated his life to caring for "the Least Ones."
Maurizio Zamparini makes such a donation to the mission every year at Christmas season.
To learn more about Fra Biagio and his work for the homeless of Palermo, read my story in the most recent National Italian American Foundation magazine, Ambassador.

"The Godmother" arrested in Sicily

December 6, 2017

Tags: mafia, woman, capo, reorganize, palermo, arrest, women, mafiosa, padrina, wife, widow, relative

A female mobster suspected of being the mastermind behind a reshuffle of the Sicilian mafia after a series of high profile arrests has been taken into custody, Italian police have said.
Mariangela Di Trapani, 49, was arrested on charges of having managed the business of the Resuttana family, one of the most important Cosa Nostra (more…)

Christmastime in Palermo

November 27, 2017

Tags: christmas, palms, lights, palermo, Sicily

The marble bandstand in the piazza across from the Politeama theater.

Italy and self-esteem

November 19, 2017

Tags: italy, self-esteem

From The Guardian:
Millions of Italians have been understandably despondent for the past few days. The results of the regional elections in Sicily proved that former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is back in the big time. With a face that looks more sinister with each passing year, the 81-year-old politician took the credit for (more…)

Man fom mali

November 18, 2017

Tags: amadou sumaila, mali, refugee, trouble, sea, mediteranean, rescue, escape, danger

Amadou Sumaila was one of 118 people rescued from an inflatable boat drifting 20 miles off the Libyan coast on a clear, calm morning in August last year. The kind of day for which people smugglers hope and their passengers pray.

The young Malian and more than 363,000 other migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean to reachEurope in 2016. Like many of them, Sumaila had never seen the sea, never imagined that so many people could be crammed into a small boat and never thought it would be so hard to breathe.

They were starting to think about death when dawn came, followed by a boat from the German NGO Jugend Rettet. The crew of the Iuventa had come to save lives, but one of its passengers, the Spanish-Iranian photographer César Dezfuli, had come determined to preserve faces.

Once the 118 were safely aboard, Dezfuli asked if he could take their pictures.

Capo dei capi dead

November 17, 2017

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

The Gua dian

First published on Friday 17 November 2017 03.06 EST

The former “boss of bosses” Toto Riina, one of the most feared godfathers in the history of the Sicilian mafia, has died in hospital while serving multiple life sentences for masterminding a bloody strategy to murder Italian prosecutors and law enforcement officers trying to bring down the Cosa Nostra.

Riina, who is thought to have ordered more than 150 murders, had been in a medically induced coma after his health deteriorated following two operations for cancer.

He died in the prisoner wing of a hospital in Parma, in northern Italy, just before 4am local time on Friday, a day after he turned 87, according to the country’s main dailies and the Ansa news agency.

Nicknamed “the Beast” because of his cruelty, Salvatore “Toto” Riina led a reign of terror for decades after taking control of the Cosa Nostra in the 1970s.

Palermo police reveal secret symbols used by thieves to mak houses

November 14, 2017

Tags: thief, lexicon, symbols, police, publish

Palermo police warn of an uptick in house break-ins, with the elderly being targets.
They published a lexicon of symbols thieves use to mark prospective houses for a hit.

Meanings of symbols, top to bottom, left column first:
Good target
Very good house to rob
Don't touch, house of friends
Dog in house
Dog
Police active
Danger or Always at Home
Night is the best time to strike here.
Rich people here.
Women willing to give money
House just hit
No use trying
Not interesting
Public official
Avoid this town
Here they give work (Company or home not to be touched)
Sunday is the best day
Morning is the best time
House with alarms.

26 Nigerian girls found floating dead in the Sea

November 14, 2017

Tags: nigerian, sex slaves, trafficking, africa, italy, corpses.

From NPR:
The bodies of 26 Nigerian girls and women were recovered from the Mediterranean Sea, and Italian prosecutors are probing whether their deaths are linked to sex trafficking.

"Salvatore Malfi, the police prefect of the southern town of Salerno, said the 26 [victims] may have been thrown off their rubber dinghy into the waters ofthe Mediterranean," NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome. "The cause of death appears to be by drowning."

Cantabria, a Spanish warship, brought their bodies to Salerno, Sylvia adds. That ship had carried out other Mediterranean rescues and had 374 rescued migrants on board.

According to the BBC, Italian authorities are questioning five migrants. The broadcaster adds that "twenty-three of the dead women had been on a rubber boat with 64 other people."

Agence France Press reports that a spokesman for the EU anti-trafficking force Sofia said "another three bodies had been discovered during other life-saving operations in the Mediterranean this week."

Italian media outlets are reporting that the deceased females were mostly between 14 and 18, Sylvia adds. "Police Prefect Malfi called this a human tragedy and said his office has appealed to neighboring towns to provide dignified burial for the Nigerian women." (more…)

Quick Links