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

Destroyed Liberty masterpiece may be reproduced in situ

November 30, 2015

Tags: ernesto basile, architect, Liberty style, art nouveau, architecture, treasure, destroyed, mob, mafia, reconstruct, palermo, sicily, urban, recoup, culture

Two young Palermo architects have proposed recreating Ernesto Basile's Liberty masterpiece, Villa Deliella, according to the original blueprints which still exist, and to make a museum of it. The idea has the support of politician, art critic and entertainer Vittorio Sgarbi. The art nouveau masterpiece was destroyed over a weekend in 1959 during the Sack of Palermo by mob types who wanted to clear space for their concrete high-density retail/ apartment buildings. From Best of Sicily magazine: (more…)

rainy day today in Palermo

November 29, 2015

Tags: bike, rain, palermo, lights, city, street, cobbles, maqueda

It's been raining in Palermo. Pilons that hold up bridges have moved out of place on the Palermo-Sciacca highway, a boulder rolled off a mountain and killed an 88-year-old woman asleep in her bed in Mondello ( maybe the house was built illegally close to the mountain) and Corso Vittorio Emanuele stones shone under this bike.

I am grateful for this

November 26, 2015

Tags: art, home, creativity, mystery, palermo, via celso, piazzetta sant'agata, who made this?, curious, fascinating, symbols, seashells, saints, beauty, expression, facade, home, old palermo

I am grateful that one day walking aimlessly and happily in the neighborhood behind the Palermo Cathedral I found the facade of this house all decorated creatively. I just get the feeling that some older pensioner with a happy, creative bent made this. And I am grateful I had my little Flip camera which I carried in my hand everywhere in that city. Happy Thanksgiving, tutti.

Trending in Palermo: Very Expensive 18th birthday parties

November 24, 2015

Tags: 18, adult, gowns, palace, party, expensive, jewels, videographer, catered, candles, glitter, cars, style, over the top, playacting, like grownups, waste

Gabriele Dagostino, the videographer, does a really fine job of photographing and editing, telling the story of each party. Whether or not you like the parties themselves is up to you. Every one is entitled to his or her opinion.

Mass quantities of confiscated Mafia loot

November 23, 2015

Tags: confiscated, loot, mafia, law, judges, sicily, italy

3,000 companies, 12,000 properties and 2bn in bank deposits. Read all about it here in the Guardian in English. Now I have a better idea of the temptations that tantalized Judge Saguto, stripped of her duties and salary as Palermo's head minder of confiscated Mafia property. Click on the caption to read the Guardian's story.

metal detectors against terrorism in Palermo

November 22, 2015

Tags: terrorism, fright, fear, culture, death, monuments, stadiums, theaters, people, metal dtectors, cost, expensive, bankrupt, culture, dead, fun, all gone

As of this moment in Palermo you cannot go to the theater, a concert, visit a monument or cathedral or soccer stadium without first being checked by a policeman with a metal detector who asks you to open your purse or bag besides. An expensive endeavor! Who should pay for the added security? Palermo (more…)

Jacarandas proposed for Via E. Amari

November 21, 2015

Tags: jacaranda, tree, palermo, via amari, tourism, semi-tropical

Palermo cut down some ancient trees to install a new tram line, and now they are thinking about what to plant in their place. Along Via Emerico Amari, which leads to the Politeama theater from the cruise ship port, the city counselor in charge of urban greenery, Francesco Maria Raimondo, is thinking about planting (more…)

Moslems hit the streets in anti-terrorism demonstration

November 20, 2015

Tags: anti-terrorism, muslims, moslems, peace, god, religion

Moslems in solidarity with the victims of the Paris massacres descended into the piazzas of Palermo and Catania on the first Friday after the terrorist attack on the French capital today.
"Religion is not terrorism," their signs said.

La Favorita Park from on high

November 17, 2015

Tags: parco della favorita, parl, green like vermont, palermo, urban park, greenery, lungs, recreation, nature, city, together, protect, please, historical, palazzina cinese.

Parco della Favorita, on the north end of downtown Palermo, by Siculdrone. Splendid.

308 African immigrants arrived this a.m.; one dead

November 15, 2015

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

A corpse arrived in Trapani along with 308 immigrants around 8 this morning aboard a Doctors Without Borders ship,, according to La Repubblica. It seems the dead person suffered some health problems while aboard one of three motorized rubber raft rescued two days ago from waters off the coast of Libya by three ships,
the Spanish (more…)

Dead man walking

November 12, 2015

Tags: pentito, mafia, provenzano, chauffeur, state's evidence, witness, testimony, witness protection program, Ficarizzi, clan, mob, family, danger, death, murder, threat, what a life

Stefano LoVerso,, for years the chauffeur of Mafia kingpin Bernardo Provenzano, turned state's evidence and was put into the government's witness protection program in a city in northern Italy. LoVerso had to leave his family behind in Ficarizzi. He said in this exclusive interview with a La Repubblica reporter that if the Mafia can't get you, they will get at the family you left behind. He has a wife and children and he decided to come back to Sicily to live with and protect them until he meets his own death, which he fully expects. The protection program cannot protect you if you come back to Sicily. LoVerso says it is the bosses who should be exiled. He knows they will get him, he just doesn't know when. "The mafia doesn't forgive," he says. Imagine the stress and ulcers of living like that! Interview in Italian.


[Sigh. Working on getting the embed code to work. Meantime, here's the link to copy and paste:]
http://video.repubblica.it/edizione/palermo/il-pentito-in-bicicletta-che-sfida-la-mafia--non-lascio-la-sicilia-se-ne-vadano-i-boss/217730/216926

Photo of Aylan Kurdi didn't make much difference

November 9, 2015

Tags: aylan jurdi, immigrants, press, coverage, difference, not much, attitudes, same old

The picture of the Syrian boy washed up dead on a Turkish beach and picked up by a soldier made only a fleeting change to press coverage of Syrian refugees, and NO DIFFERENCE to press coverage of African refugees escaping to Europe. As a matter of fact, the Africans got LESS coverage because of it. (more…)

Wish i could be there for this

November 8, 2015

Tags: palermo, UNESCO, World Heritage, itinerary, Cuba, cathedrals, monreale, palermo, cefalu, bridge, cloister, arab-norman, architecture, culture, art, recognition, appreciation, learn, education, culture, art, craft, workshops

In July Palermo was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Arab-Norman architecture, including the cathedrals of Palermo, Monreale and Cefalu` and the Cappella Palatina, all aglitter with golden mosaic tiles. Not gilt mosaic tiles, but solid gold tiles. To make the most of this prestigious world-wide recognition, the city has put together (more…)

Corrupt Judge Suspended from Duty, Salary Cut off

November 3, 2015

Tags: silvana saguto, judge, corruption, mafia, confiscated, goods, business, power, greed, woman, malfeasance, abuse of office, shady deals, favors, recommendations, almighty, god

A Palermo judge accused of corruption and abuse of office was suspended from duty today and her salary taken away. Judge Silvana Saguto, who headed the Palermo Tribunal's office in charge of confiscated Mafia goods and businesses, was caught on tape saying she was "like God Almighty." Jobs are scarce in Palermo. When a Mafia business (more…)

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