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

Mafia destroying Sicily's farms

October 15, 2017

Tags: mafia, sicily, farms, intimidation, ruin, Napoli sisters

From The Guardian:
The Napoli sisters keep their entire harvest in a glass jar, resting on a wooden table in the living room. Inside, there are only a dozen stalks of wheat. The rest of the crop – 80,000 kilograms – was destroyed by the Sicilian mafia, determined to force out these three women working in the land of The Godfather.

For three generations, the Napoli family farmed wheat and hay in Corleone, the historic stronghold of Cosa Nostra. Their father, Salvatore, was a hard worker who, after much sacrifice in the fields, managed to send his three daughters – Marianna, Ina and Irene – to university.

But a crisis in what was the world’s most notorious mafia, broken apart by prosecutors, has pushed Cosa Nostra back to their rural origins, and they want their land back.

Sun through the olive trees

June 25, 2014

Tags: farms, homeless, nuns, brothers, sisters, scopello, castellammare del Golfo, trapani, nature, growth, rebuild, fruit, fava, peas, olives, Mass, life, rebirth, charity, hope, speranza, carita, mission

Silver lining of a cloud behind the olive branches
Fra Biagio Conte's community for the homeless has expanded into the countryside. The homeless shelter inherited a farm near the sea, at Scopello in Sicily, and the homeless have rebuilt it, and cleaned up the olive groves, made them productive again, and make all the shelter's olive oil there.

Fra Biagio and the farms

April 27, 2014

Tags: farms, homeless, nuns, brothers, sisters, scopello, castellammare del Golfo, palermo, trapani, nature, growth, rebuild, fruit, fava, peas, olives, Mass, life, rebirth, charity, hope, speranza, carita, mission

Fra Biagio Conte
Fra Biagio Conte, a layman, a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis, houses and feeds more than a thousand people in his four urban shelters and communities in Palermo. His guests are Sicilians, Italians, Europeans, Asians, and Africans, men, women and children. Recently his prayers have been answered. He always wanted to (more…)

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