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

Rare visit to the cave graffiti of Addaura in Palermo

January 27, 2017

Tags: addaura, cave, grafitti, prehistoric, humans, dancing, mystical, ancient, art, guided visit

The caption takes you to a cell-phone video of an expert, Dr Vassallo of the superintendency of art and culture, leading a group called Let's Save Addaura on a rare visit to the graffiti of Addaura. The site has been closed for years, but I saw it in person in July 1986, the year I (more…)

Rai 1 channel special on Palermo

January 7, 2017

Tags: palermo, monuments, beauty, history, culture, architecture, art, historic center, video, rai 1

A beautiful video on the core beauties of Palermo. First broadcast 31 December 2016, You can enjoy the images even if you do not understand Italian. Click on the caption to see the show.

Enjoy some peace in Mistretta, Nebrodi Mountains

December 31, 2016

Tags: mistretta, decorative, stone, sculpture, sicily, art, culture, city, town



2017: "Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst" -- Mel Brooks

Prison wall art at Palermo's Inquisition jail

August 8, 2016

Tags: palazzo steri, art, dungeon, religion, fanatic, grafitti, heretics, inquisition, jail, prison, walls, drawings, history, preservation, awesome

I have toured this place a couple of times. It is incredible.
From the Guardian:
By age 20 Francesco Mannarino had seen more of life than was good for him. The son of a Sicilian fisherman, he had been seized as a boy by Muslim pirates and converted, perhaps forcibly, to Islam.

In the early 17th century apostasy was not an offence so long as the convert reported promptly to the officials of the dreaded Inquisition after being ransomed or recaptured. Mannarino did so, but something must have failed to convince them he was still truly a Christian and he was thrown into the dungeons alongside Palazzo Steri in Palermo. (more…)

Grotta Regina on Capo Gallo

July 15, 2016

Tags: grotta regina, temple, capo gallo, monte gallo, mondello, palermo, prehistory, art, cave art, cave drawings, shepherds, pippo locascio, guide, studioso, protector, teacher, cherish, defend, spread the word



Exactly 30 years ago Pippo LoCascio, a learned man, took me as part of a group to the top of Monte Gallo and showed me La Grotta Regina, the Queen Cave where Phoenicians worshiped their goddess. Thirty years later, Pippo LoCascio still leads groups up the mountain to teach them about their own heritage. It is awe inspiring. I lost ten pounds the first time I made that climb. Video from a staunch La Repubblica reporter.

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.

Monreale cathedral mosaics by drone

December 27, 2015

Tags: monreale, cathedral, mosaics, drone, palermo, culture, art, byzantine, religion, technology



I hope the full, longer version has many more close-ups than this 1.5-minute clip does.

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.

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…)

Inside Santa Cita

June 19, 2015

Tags: Santa Cita, Oratorio del santissimo rosario in Santa Cita, palermo, giacomo Serpotta, stucco, white sculture, art, masterpiece, baroque, exuberant, puti, cherubs, breathtaking, restored, white, rosary

View of the back wall of the Oratorio of Santa Cita, by Giacomo Serpotta
This often happens in Palermo. The outside is gruesome, or at least, uninviting. Inside, the big surprise.

Abandoned beauty

February 6, 2015

Tags: demetra, demeter, mosaic, liberty, art deco, panificio morello, il capo, palermo, sicily, art, beauty, abandoned

Here is the mosaic of Il Capo, one of Palermo's three suqs. It is an art deco (in Sicily they would say Stile Liberty) mosaic depicting Demeter, the goddess of grains and agriculture, the mother of Persephone, and it is embedded in the exterior wall of the now closed Panificio Morello. A few tiles (more…)

Memorial murals

May 14, 2014

Tags: memorial, mural, art, grafitti, youth, palermo, sicily, sicilia, albergheria, ballaro`

Pasquale and Giuffrida's Memorial Wall
If you die young in Ballaro` someone will immortalize you with a giant mural of your face and maybe a garden, tended like an altar, that no one will defile. Pasquale Ferrara and Giuseppe Giufridda were two youths of Ballaro` and this mural of them was near the Mercato del Usato, the used items market, otherwise (more…)

Odd and wonderful

May 11, 2014

Tags: street art, grafitti, painting, palermo, ballaro`, art

Street art at the entrance to Ballaro` street market.
Call it street art, call it grafitti. I like it. The three eyes are a recurring theme of this anonymous artist.

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