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

Cityscape

January 31, 2016

Tags: Palermo, Monte Pellegrino, vista, view, anorama, beauty, bellezza, sicily, capital, island, mediterranean

A beautiful view of Palermo
Palermo can take your breath away. Monte Pellegrino is in the background. This greensward is where the Luna Park amusement park was for many years.

Sicily: Culture and Conquest to be at British Museum

January 29, 2016

Tags: sicily, culture, conquest, artifacts, British Museum, show, museum, history, story

From The Guardian:
"In 1066 the Normans were not just conquering grey, cold England. They were also in sunny, fertile Sicily creating what became one of the most enlightened cultures in Europe.
The little known story of the other Norman conquest is to be told in an exhibition exploring 4,000 years of history on the island (more…)

Fra Biagio Conte sleeping outdoors again

January 27, 2016

Tags: Fra Biagio, biagio conte, mission, Hope and Charity, protest, letter, pope, president, Via Archrafi, sheds, promise, palermo

The city and regional government have broken their promises and robbed the poor of hope says lay missionary Fra Biagio Conte whose Mission of Hope and Charity houses and feeds more than a thousand destitute people, Palermitans and immigrants alike in four urban missions and now on several farms in Sicily. Fra Biagio says (more…)

723 migrants, one dead body arrived Trapani this a.m.

January 25, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

The Norwegian Frontex ship Siem Pilot picked up 723 migrants at sea and the body of one Somali man who died during the voyage, according to La Repubblica.
Among the migrants were 29 unaccompanied minors , several pregnant women and a handicapped person with leg problems. This morning they were brought to safe harbor in Trapani.

More hexagons

January 24, 2016

Tags: Via Cartari, Kalsa, Palero, Sicily, paving, stones, hexagonal, hexagon, nice touch, antiquity, beauty, old, city, urban

Via Cartari in the Kalsa, just a block east of the boulevard Via Vittorio Emanuele, is honeycombed with six-sided paving stones.
Via Cartari is one of the few historic streets to retain its hexagonal paving stone. I lived just a block from this little street and saw it every time I walked to the Antica Focacceria San Francesco. This was the paper makers' street. A great neighborhood. Gotta tell you that the photographer had smelly (more…)

Cityscape: Via Castelnuovo

January 23, 2016

Tags: Vicolo Castelnuovo, palermo, albegheria, via Vittorio Emanuele, paving stones, hexagonal

Another medieval street with hexagonal paving stones
Vicolo Castelnuovo is off the Via Vittorio Emanuele in the Albergheria quarter. Only a few streets in Palermo are still paved with these elegant hexagonal paving stones. The street is surprisingly free of garbage. South Asians live here.

Uncork Mt. Etna Tour with LaRosa Works

January 21, 2016

Tags: Uncork Etna, tour, LaRosa Works, Catania, wine, winemakers spectacular, dining, guides, vineyards, travel, tourism, Linguaglossa

The New York-based Sicily lover and connoisseur Karen La Rosa of LaRosa Works offers her limited-participation UNCORK MOUNT ETNA TOUR to be held May 30 - June 6, 2016. The group will explore vineyards, meet winemakers and learn from the pros in spectacular settings ranging from Catania to towns on the slopes of Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. The tour includes fine dining in spectacular settings, private transportation and guides to accompany the group. (more…)

Lampedusa Cross now in British Museum

January 20, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.museum, brtish museum, artifact, current culture, european

When an overcrowded immigrant boat capsized just off the coast of Lampedusa and killed hundreds of people, island carpenter Francesco Tuccio met some of the survivors in his local church. Some of the survivors were Eritrean Christians fleeing from persecution in their home country. Though unable to help them in a concrete way, he (more…)

Volunteers paint over vandals' graffiti at La Zisa

January 19, 2016

Tags: volunteers, clean, paint, Zisa, graffitti, vandals, Palero, Sicily, sicilia, pride, work, team

The volunteers are part of a group that formed spontaneously to remove graffiti from the cars of Palermo's spanking new trams, Tramiamo Civita`. The local group belongs to a larger umbrella group, Retake, a national anti-graffiti association.

First snow

January 17, 2016

Tags: palermo, snow, mountain, La Zisa, arab-norman, palace, mountain, cold, sicily, 2016

The first really cold days of 2016 have hit Sicily and the snow is sticking to the mountains that ring Palermo.

246 immigrants saved, one dead

January 16, 2016

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

This morning the Italian coast guard ship Dattilo delivered 246 migrants it picked up in a vessel off the coast of Libya: 218 men, 27 women, and a minor, plus one cadaver, according to a report in La Repubblica. They are disembarking at Catania.
The report did not mention what countries the immigrants are from.

Incredible stone inlay art

January 13, 2016

Tags: art, chrch, intarsio, stone inlay, palermo, Immaculate Conception, Capto, Concezione Immaculata, blue

The Church of the Immaculate Conception, in the Capo market, not far from the Porta Carini, is usually closed. It houses four incredible stone mosaics. I got to see them on a tour with Professor Carlo Di Franco's popular group, La Palermo Dei Misteri, which takes interested members and visitors on fascinating themed tours of old Palermo.

Fruit vendor at the Capo market

January 10, 2016

Tags: market, street, palermo, sicily, fruit, vendor, urban, food, fresh, colors, capo

I have bought some of the best strawberries of my life in this market. It is a wonder to walk through these market streets. You often see strange African fruits here too. Like squash with bumpy bristles. It is the best place to buy small souvenirs to take home to friends, like exotic spices and Sicilian capers.

Cityscape: Piazzetta degli Angelini

January 6, 2016

Tags: palermo, sicily, slideshow, monuments, beautiful, city, urban, europe, historic center


The paving stones are honeycomb-shaped! Author Giuseppe Di Lampedusa's family home gave onto this piazzetta. It was destroyed by an American bomb during WWII, rebuilt and now, just recently, turned into apartments. There used to be a water tower and fountain here that brought icy cold water from the mountains, and thirsty aristocrats would (more…)

Cityscape: La Guilla

January 4, 2016

Tags: la guilla, palermo, cathedral, street. scene, urban, steps, salita, ramirez, Sicily

This is why I love to roam the back streets of Palermo -- you find streets like this in the historic center. It had been a dump but now it's cleaned up, and somebody started a little garden there. From the Facebok group I Monumenti Abbandonati di Palermo, a group which also meets physically (more…)

New Year's Day, Palermo 1934

January 2, 2016

Tags: palermo, 1934, film, black and white, sicily, architecture, Liberty, Villa Delliella, cathedral, teatro massimo, politeama, gardens, citizens, New Year 1934

Here's a short, silent home movie of Palermo in the thirties. It shows the Liberty gem Villa Deliella, (02:27 behind palms) destroyed in a night in the 1950s by the mafia to make way for a high rise, now the site of a car wash. Its absence breaks the hearts of Palermitans.
(more…)

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