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

"The Godmother" arrested in Sicily

December 6, 2017

Tags: mafia, woman, capo, reorganize, palermo, arrest, women, mafiosa, padrina, wife, widow, relative

A female mobster suspected of being the mastermind behind a reshuffle of the Sicilian mafia after a series of high profile arrests has been taken into custody, Italian police have said.
Mariangela Di Trapani, 49, was arrested on charges of having managed the business of the Resuttana family, one of the most important Cosa Nostra (more…)

Il capo market in the morning

August 21, 2016

Tags: palermo, market, capo, street, produce, red, people, custom, tradition, fresh, local, food

Il Capo street market, Palermo, 11 a.m. Photo: Rosa Maria Zito
One of Palermo's historic street markets.

Liberty Demetra Mosaic restored

March 3, 2016

Tags: Dmeter, demetra palermo, art liberty, goddess, grain, fertility, agriculture, mosaic, restore, capo, market, pupa old glory, beauty, sicily, panificio S Morello

The Liberty style mosaic of Demeter, Sicilian goddess of grain and agriculture known as the Doll of the Capo because she adorned the front of a bakery in the Capo market has been restored. She and the bakery sign were removed from the decrepit building (the bakery had gone out of business after many (more…)

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…)

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.

Demeter art deco mosaic in the Capo Market years ago

February 26, 2015

Tags: capo, palermo, mosaico, demetra, panificio, morello, patrimonio, artistico, culturale, cultura, culture

Here is a shot of the art deco mosaic of Demeter, the goddess of grain, outside a bread bakery in the Capo market of Palermo. The mosaic is still there. The bakery recently closed. People are forming Facebook groups to save the mosaic, have it put in a museum.

Walled up Palermo

November 29, 2014

Tags: wall, palermo, bricks, cement blocks, palermo, capo, sicilia, sicily, italy

This used to be a second-floor French door with balcony overlooking the Capo market.
Much of Palermo's historic center, the largest in Europe, is walled up like this window in what used to be a lovely art deco building above the heads of the market merchants. Some such buildings house newly-arrived clandestine immigrants.

Rough looking

June 5, 2014

Tags: capo, market, food, clothing, doors, oalermo, immigrants, neighborhood, quartiere, siclia, sicily, Italy, south, old, rough

These ancient wooden doors lead to a flat above the Capo market.
Many southern Asian immigrants live in this, the Capo market neighborhood. These rough wooden doors looked positively medieval. Often, univiting, creaking, forbidding, even, heavy wooden doors lead to enchanted colonnaded courtyards filled with sunlight and a fountain, such a surprise. In Palermo, you never know what is behind the next closed door.

culture clash

June 2, 2014

Tags: palermo, capo, market, street immigrant, woman, girl, color, dresses, traditional garb, sicily, sicilia, cultural, melting pot, culture, tradition, modern, traditional, clash

Immigrant woman and child in the Capo market street
The most colorful clothing can always be found in Il Capo market, whether on display or worn by the denizens.

Church of the Immaculate Conception, al Capo

May 16, 2014

Tags: church, immaculate conception, capo, palermo, hidden treasure, intarsio, stone inlay, chandelier, baroque

Chandelier, frescoes, intarsio, and local marble
I first saw this church on one of Anthrolpogist Carlo di Franco's Palermo of Mysteries tours in Palermo's Capo market. Usually this church is closed, but he had someone open it one night for his group of 100 Palermo lovers. we oohed at the intarsio, four stone inlay side altars that looks as though they're painted.

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