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

per chi legge in italiano

October 31, 2015

Tags: comboniani, missione, immigrants, stories, articles, EsterRusso, protest, suffering, children, publication


My friend and former palace mate Ester Russo, who is a psychologist who treats immigrants and victims of torture, wrote an article about recent events in Palermo, protests over building fences in Europe to keep asylum seekers out. The cover image quotes (more…)

Police video of extortionist at work

October 31, 2015

Tags: pizzo, protection money, clan, mob, mafia, payment, thug, police, spy, microphone, caught on tape, arrests, carabinieri, greengrocer, palermo, sicily, sicilia, italy, crime, collaborator, danger



The mafia charges monthly protection money even from traveling street vendors, like this guy who sells produce from his three-wheeled (more…)

SHort Break: Favignana Photos

October 28, 2015

Tags: favignana, egadi, isole, island, tonnara, fishermen, beach, fun, blue, sea, sky, tuna, archeology, Clemente Ventrone, Cristina Torre, Theresa Maggio, tonnaroti, tradition, net, beauty, nature, sun, sea, Mediterranean, fun, world unto itself



Circa early- to mid-1990s. Here's the video link in case the embed code does not work:
http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T01304&video=61535

1,000+ immigrants just saved at sea, crossing from Africa to Sicily

October 28, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy

Palermo: more than a thousand immigrants were saved in aid operations about thirty miles off the Libyan coast last night. They were trying to reach Italy aboard six motorized rubber rafts and one old fishing boat. Aboard the fishing boat were crowded 400 migrants, who were saved by te British ship Enterprise. Three other ships, (more…)

Signora Maria from Ciolino

October 24, 2015

Tags: Signora Maria, Ciolino, Stone Boudoir, poem, rough life, sicily, sicilia

Signora Maria and Dottoressa Riccobene in Ciolino.
I just came across an old photo of Signora Maria, who was the subject of the first chapter in Stone Boudoir. She is being held by one of the twin Riccobene sisters, either Antonietta or Rosaria, the pharmacists in Ciolino.

Palermo has the largest Ficus macrophylla on the continent

October 22, 2015

Tags: Ficus macrophylla, palermo Villa Garibaldi, largest, Europe. record-holder, aerial roots, Orto Botanico, Botanic Garden, palermo, sicily, italy, europe, garden, tree, giant, loved, culture, history

Here it is: Ficus macrophylla at Garibaldi Park at Piazza Marina, near the sea
Its siblings in the Orto Botanico (Botanic Garden) are rivals for the title of largest Ficus macrophylla in Europe. I love their aerial roots, majestic girth and shade.

8 immigrants found dead

October 19, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

Seven women and one man were found dead aboard a rubber raft rescued off the coast of Libya today. The dead had apparently died from asphyxiation and struggle, according to La Repubblica. The other 113 aboard were taken to a safe place by an Italian military ship. Over the weekend a total of 1,300 immigrants were rescued at sea.

662 immigrants saved yesterday

October 18, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

662 people fleeing from Africa were saved in four rescue operations off the coast of Libya yesterday.

Rick Steves at the Ballaro` suq in Palermo

October 15, 2015

Tags: ballaro`, palermo, suq, street market, travel, sicily, food, singing wares, vegetables, meat, fish

Rick Steves did a good job on this short clip of merchants singing their wares.

402 immigrants arrived Lampedusa yesterday

October 7, 2015

Tags: immigrants, syria, sicily, lampedusa, safe, Europe, strait of sicily, women, children

Last night 402 immigrants arrived at Lampedusa, a Sicilian island, the part of Europe closest to north Africa, aboard a the Coast Guard boat which rescued them. They were Somalis, Eritreans, and Syrians.

A raft to save them

October 7, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy

A group of young German utopians on Sunday moored a rescue platform for migrants off the Sicilian coast. They designed it, built it and financed it with crowdfunding. A delegation from the collective Zentrum für Politische Schönheit literally Center for Political Beauty- left the port of Licata shortly after dawn and at (more…)

717 african immigrants saved

October 5, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

lost at sea
The Italian Coast Guard ship Dattilo saved 717 African immigrants on two different rickety boats overnight 50 miles off the Libyan coast.

This photo moved people; the one below did not.

October 3, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

The Syrian boy
The same thing had been happening for a decade to African immigrants. But they are black.

2 years ago this photo didn't move people; all the dead were black

October 3, 2015

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy, sail

Two years ago today a migrant boat just a few feet from Europe's shores flipped over when it arrived in the dark and someone lit a shirt on fire to alert authorities and everyone moved to one side of the boat to avoid the flames. Worldwide reaction: shock, then forgetting, moving on. Survivors are (more…)

Rosalia at the Catacombs as she used to be

October 2, 2015

Tags: Rosalia, mummy, palermo, capuchin catacombs, change

The old Rosalia
Here's Rosalia, the star of the Capuchin Catacombs mummies, a two-year-old girl who died in Palermo around 1920 and was mummified and left behind. You can't see her in this configuration any more, nor even get close to her.

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