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

A bloodless mattanza for tourists

February 29, 2016

Tags: favignana, tonnara, mattanza, tuna, tourist, fake, sham, money, tourism, tuna, giant bluefin tuna

I read in La Repubblica that the tonnara is coming back to Favignana, but just to draw tourists, and the men will not lift the tuna in teams of eight with lances of varying lengths as they used to. To know what a tonnara used to be like, please read my first book, Mattanza. (more…)

Cityscape: interior of a palace in Piazza Bologni

February 28, 2016

Tags: Piazza Bologni, Palermo, Palazzo Alliata, Leo Lima, Facebook, Palermo in Bianco e Nero

Photo of interior of Palazzo Alliata by Leo Lima posted in Facebook group "Palermo in Bianco e Nero."
Entering these sumptuous old palaces in downtown Palermo is always a revelation. This one is in Piazza Bologni on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo's oldest street.

100 immigrants saved from raft in trouble

February 27, 2016

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

The Italian Navy ship Bettica rescued a hundred migrants from motorized rubber raft in trouble in the Strait of Sicily today according to La Repubblica. Among the 100 migrants were seven women and 20 minors. Now that spring is coming, the migrant traffic, and subsequent deaths from drowning, will pick up.
The EU offers asylum to (more…)

Italian Judge breaks up families to save children from the mafia

February 26, 2016

Tags: Judge, mafia, children, family, break, chain, ndragheta, calabria, generations, jail, death, abuse

And that's not easy because the family as the basic unit of Italian society is built into the Italian constitution. This judge says it is abusive to bring a child to mafia meetings, indoctrinate him for entry into criminal organizations, and reduce his life's horizons. That it is just as much a crime as giving a child a syringe or a kalishnokov rifle. Read the story in English in The Guardian by clicking on the caption.

Photo with Zia Tina: 50 cents

February 24, 2016

Tags: mummy, palermo, capo, Sant'Agostino, street, palermo, piazzetta saponeria, jokesters, full-grown men, tourists, selfies

Bunch of grown men in their forties in the Capo market quartiere cleaned out a warehouse and found this fake mummy that had been given to one guy's father at Carnevale when he was a kid. They decided to have a laugh, dressed it up in an old ladies' shmatte, called her Aunt Titina (more…)

731 African immigrants saved at sea this morning; 4 cadavers found

February 23, 2016

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

Italian Navy ships rescued 731 immigrants this morning, Tuesday 23 Feb. 2016, according to La Repubblica. The ship Cigala Fulgosi picked up a total of 407 migrants including 4 dead bodies. The ship Bettica helped two imbarcations in trouble taking aboard 219 migrants. The ship Scirocco coordinated the rescue operations and picked up 105 migrants.
No sign of this story in the New York Times. (more…)

Kennel workers strike, volunteers take over duties

February 23, 2016

Tags: palermo, dogs, kennel, municipal, strike, workers, volunteers, dog pound.

A new union took over the care and feeding of dogs at the municipal kennel yesterday and immediately went on strike for higher wages, showers and safety clothes. Also, they don't think they should have to exercise or feed the dogs.They are assigned to catch the stray dogs, provide veterinary services and clean (more…)

Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) trailer

February 22, 2016

Tags: winner, golden bear, Berlin Film festival, documentary, Gianfranco Rosi, Lampedusa, immigrants



For more info about the prizewinning film, the first time a full-length feature documentary has won top honors in Berlin, please cut and paste into your address line:
http://www.dw.com/en/berlinale-golden-bear-for-italian-refugee-documentary-fuocoammare/a-19063227

As Gianfranco Rosi collects Golden Bear, 943 more African immigrants rescued at sea

February 22, 2016

Tags: Fuocoammare, Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, documentary, Lampedusa, immigrants, refugees, boats, mediterranean, crossing, rescue, Europe, africa, cinema, golden bear, prize, director, lampedusa

While documentary filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi was celebrating his win in Berlin for his documentary Fuocoammare ( Fire at Sea) about the people of Lampedusa accepting and caring for African immigrants, nearly a thousand more immigrants were arriving on the island's shores.
It was a weekend of life saving at sea off the coast of Libya, according to La Repubblica (more…)

Ballaro` market calls

February 20, 2016

Tags: palermo, ballaro, market, Poressore, Carlo Di Franco, architecture, anthropology, La Palermo Dei Misteri, group, non-profit, walking, tours, stones, speak, ALbergheria, streets, walk, follow, troupe, market calls


Anthropology professor Carlo Di Franco leads me through the Ballaro` street market, his favorite place -- on our way to the church of Il Carmine in the Albergheria quarter of Palermo. Professor Di Franco, who teaches a class in symbols in architecture (more…)

THirty immigrants, two cadavers arrived this morning; more feared dead

February 19, 2016

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

A 30-foot wooden craft containing thirty live immigrants presumably of North African origin arrived on the coast of Torre Salsa in the town of Siculiana in the province of Agrigento at nine this morning. The immigrants said when they left the coast of Libya, there were 40 people aboard, the rest drowned at sea. The (more…)

Palermo of a thousand cultures

February 17, 2016

Tags: palermo, cultures, history, beauty, popular, historic, rai, television, line verde orizzonti


From Linea Verde Orizzonti (Green Line Horizons) , a presentation of RAI -tv, a fifty-minute show in Italian highlighting the mixture of cultures that made and makes Palermo what it is. Here is the link in case the embed code did not work:
http://www.rai.tv/dl/RaiTV/programmi/media/ContentItem-2131e4ab-219a-465a-b12d-45c3404dc6a5.html#p=0

110 refugees arrived Lampedusa at dawn today

February 17, 2016

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

From the Corriere del Mezzogiorno:
110 migrants mostly from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Ghana arrived in good shape at five this morning on the shores of Lampedusa, the Sicilian island closest to Africa. Among them were 10 women and 4 children.

From me: In the clamor over the plight of white Syrian immigrants who cross the Mediterranean from Turkey (more…)

How Sicilians waste EU money

February 16, 2016

Tags: Euopean Union, funds, waste, sicily, guttuso, bagheria, mismanagement, phony, lazy, greedy, dishonest, back hole for money, Sicilian Housewife blog

Well, the British blogger The Sicilian Housewife just a got a job as the CEO of a charitable organization and moved back to England with her Sicilian husband and their young son. But I wanted to show you this great post of hers. She is a wonderful writer and really hits the nail on the head, doing a good job of translating the culture into English. She is so sane!
Please click on the caption and you will be taken to her refreshing blog, The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife.

San Valentino

February 14, 2016

Tags: HEART, palermo, silver, valentine, febryary 14, love

Heart of PALERMO
Silver heart by Palermo silversmith Antonino Amato.

The wall of kindness

February 7, 2016

Tags: palermo, urban, wall of kindness, muro della gentilezza, sicily, poor, immigrants, mosque, Via Celso, sicilia, kindness, heart, center, giving, generous, thoughtful

The wall of Kindness in Via Celso in the city center
Following a European trend, someone in the heart of Palermo has started a "Wall of Kindness". One clothesline where people can leave what they want to donate, or take what they need, not far from the city's principal mosque. Here is a one-minute video report from La Repubblica.

Fra Biagio's Hunger Strike wins a round against developer

February 4, 2016

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

Fra Biagio Conte, founder of Palermo's urban Mission of Hope and Charity, which feeds, houses, trains and cares for more than a thousand homeless people a day in four urban centers, has won a victory. The developer who bought the property adjacent to his Via Archirafi shelter where homeless men collect cardboard to recycle (more…)

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