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

Capo dei capi dead

November 17, 2017

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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 Cathedral Rooftop Walk

June 12, 2016

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Two people stroll the roof of the cathedral.
What a shot! Doesn't look real, but it is. Sometimes it pays to look up.

The weekend tally

May 2, 2016

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Some of the refugees spent fur days at sea in an open raft. It bent in the middle, shaped like a V, many fell into the water and drowned, including a newborn baby.
From the Guardiam:
"A newborn baby is among 99 people believed to have drowned in two separate shipwrecks off the Libyan coast (more…)

The Quattro Canti

March 10, 2016

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I Quattro Canti -- the four corners at the center of the old city.
At the intersection of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda in the heart of the old town, the Quattro Canti is also known as the theater of the sun. I do not know who took this fine picture, but whoever it was lay down in the center of a busy intersection on a cloudless day and shot upward toward the cerulean blue sky.

700 migrants were aboard capsized fishing vessel off Libya

August 5, 2015

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An old fishing vessel full of 700 immigrants capsized about 15 miles off the coast of Libya today. 100 have been rescued, while four ships are in the area to try to save the rest. The BBC, in contact with an Irish military ship at the scene, said many are feared drowned.
According to La Repubblica today, (more…)

arms, legs broken

July 7, 2015

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Two Nigerian immigrants broke their arms and legs when they were pushed out of a fourth floor window by human traffickers because they had not paid their way yet. Sicilian authorities think it was a last-minute attempt to get more money out of their family members back in Nigeria. Doctors in Sicily are treating (more…)

Heavy Lifting

October 6, 2014

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Bookseller Pietro Tramonte (right) enlists the help of passsersby.
Moving books here is a community effort.

Inventor Marcello Lampone at play

October 1, 2014

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I have spent the last two mornings reliving my three-hour encounter with Marcello Lampone, a 67-year-old Palermo inventor and blithe spirit. His bottega is near the intersection of Via Maqueda with Via del Bosco. Here he is at play.

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