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

Sicilians Do It Better: Dolce & Gabbana Present Their Alta Moda in Palermo

July 12, 2017

Tags: palermo, dolce, gabbana, moda, fashion, models, fountain, runway, city, sicily, italy

From Vogue magazine:
The arrival of a sleekly suited and enigmatic-looking man flanked by three watchful, headset-wearing bodyguards whose hands hovered above the meaningful bulges beneath their jackets did not, at first, seem that remarkable.

After all, around 430 clients, many of them new, travelled from across the world to the Sicilian capital of Palermo to experience the 126-look swoon that was Dolce & Gabbana’s latest Alta Moda show last night. And at Alta Moda, personal security detachments are ten a penny: The wealth that enables these super shoppers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes considerably more, buying into this couture-but-beyond iteration of idealized Italian-ness comes with its own burdens.

Yet this new face was a man without a woman at a womenswear show who spent a great deal of time shaking hands with people he didn’t know. It seemed strange. When he shook my hand all became clear: This was no less that Rosario Crocetta, the President of Sicily, a son-of-a-seamstress communist anti-corruption campaigner who has been the target of at least three Mafia assassination plots. Wow. So why was he here? The president said: “As far as I am concerned Dolce and Gabbana are the best interpreters in Sicilian style. It is in their blood, and they do a lot for Sicily.”

Here is their high-fashion jewelry show at Palazzo Gangi, Palermo.

(more…)

A deal for il Festino: Santa Rosalia's Feast from On High

July 8, 2017

Tags: festino, palermo, palazzo asmundo, feat, santa rosalia, patron, saint, procession, festivities, terra da mare, tourism, culture, aperitif, cena, supper, entertainment, procession, religious, food, wine, drink, revel, spectacle, important


Where: Palazzo Asmundo, Via Pietro Novelli, 3 (corner of Corso Vittorio Emanuele), Palermo
When: Friday 14 July 2017 starting at 7 p.m.
Cost: 50 euro
Info in Italy: 329-876-5958 or 320- 767-2134
Reservations required via internet form

› evento facebook: www.facebook.com/events/135957133635845

Anyone who will be in Palermo on this date should reserve their spot right now! If I were there, I would
For the 393rd five-day Feast of Santa Rosalia, the city's protectress, Palazzo Asmundo, a palace-museum directly across Via Vittorio Emanuele from the Norman Cathedral, will organize a palermitano supper and drinks with a magnificent overhead view of the incomparable spectacle on the Cathedral grounds.
Click on the caption to reserve a spot and to see photos of the palace interior, the buffet table laden with Sicilian specialties, and the privileged view from Palazzo Asmundo's balconies. Welcoming guests will be the members of the Terradamare ( land from Sea) cooperative, a grass-roots non profit that seeks to show cruise passengers the treasures of inner Palermo. (more…)

Leoluca Orlando wins fourth term as Palermo mayor

June 12, 2017

Tags: leoluca orlando, palermo, mayor, re-elected, sicily, italy, widest margin

Leoluca Orlando last night won his fourth mayoral race with 46 percent of the votes of those already counted, the largest margin in the nation where cities and towns held municipal elections yesterday. He won fame as Sicily's anti-mafia mayor and it is a miracle that he is still alive. He won his last election five years ago with more 70 percent of the vote.
Bad news: Giusi Nicolini, the mayor of Lampedusa who welcomed and aided African migrants, and whose name was bandied about for the Nobel Peace Prize, lost her bid for reelection, coming in third on the European island town closest to Africa. Her successor has said that everything has to change including the presence of NGO rescue volunteers.

Letizia Battaglia, photographer of 1980s mafia Palermo, now shoots a little girl, Greta

June 3, 2017

Tags: letizia battaglia, palermo, photographer, mafia, 1980s, hit, greta, the beauty of greta

From The Guardian:
Letizia Battaglia, Italy’s most famous female photojournalist, has developed all of her rolls of film but one. Shot in 1987, the photos show the corpse of a 10-year-old boy, Claudio, who had been killed by the mafia in Palermo.

It was a time of war. The Sicilian mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, was leaving bullet-ridden bodies in the streets and assassinating prosecutors with car bombs. Battaglia photographed hundreds of corpses, building a bloody archive in black and white that showed Sicily’s worst face to the world.

Thirty years have passed since Battaglia photographed the boy, killed because he had witnessed a murder, and the world around her has changed. Tourism has regenerated Palermo and brought it back from the depths. Most of the Cosa Nostra bosses are in prison and its killers have stopped shooting up the city. Battaglia has changed too. Now, at 82, she is trying to leave behind the horror of those years and searching for innocence and beauty.

Mafioso shot down while riding his bike in Palermo

May 22, 2017

Tags: mafia, palermo, boss, murder, shooting, street, anniversary, judges, Borsellino, death, blood, bike, scooters, guns, lowlife

From The Guardian:

A mafia boss has been gunned down while riding his bicycle in Sicily, in what appeared to have been the sort of mob killing that has become rarer in recent years as dangerous figures have been locked up.

Giuseppe Dainotti, 67, was shot in the head as he cycled along a street in Palermo, almost 25 years to the day since anti-Mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone was killed in a bomb blast on a motorway on the Italian island.

Photographs of Monday’s crime scene evoked decades of violence in the Sicilian capital, showing Dainotti’s body covered by a sheet, only his shoes on show, and the white bicycle he was riding lying where it fell.

Laid-off security guard decides to protect Pretoria fountain for free

May 8, 2017

Tags: palermo, unemployment, piazza pretoria, fountain, protect, civil service

From La Repubblica 8 May 2017:

Luigi Duro, a 44-year-old security guard who was laid off from his job, decided to protect the splendid white, flowing "Fountain of Shame" in Piazza Pretoria as an act of civil service and to keep his feeling of having a purpose in life. He started his vigil yesterday morning.
He made himself a little badge with his name on it so he can look more authoritative, he said. "I decided to spend my time working for the common good," he said. " I decided to put my twenty-some years of experience in security to some good, without making any profit from it."

Singing salesmen

May 4, 2017

Tags: greengrocer, fruttivendolo, market, sing, salesman, palermo, sicilia, sicily



A minute and a half with Rick Steves in Palermo's markets.

“People have the right to move in search for a better life.”

April 18, 2017

Tags: leoluca orlando, palermo, mayor, immigrants, europe, freedom

From the Guardian:
Every time a ship with rescued migrants enters the harbour of Palermo, the mayor goes to greet them. “Welcome,” he says to them. “The worst is over. You are citizens of Palermo now.”

Letizia Battaglia interview in Italian

February 16, 2017

Tags: Franco Maresco, interviews, Letizia Battaglia, palermo, hope?, doubt?, nostalgia, mafia, blood, streets

Palermo director Franco Maresco interviews Letizia Battaglia, photojournalist who took the most iconic photos of the Mafia wars in Palermo during the 80s.


Palermo unanimously voted Italian Culture Capital for 2018

January 31, 2017

Tags: palermo, culture, capital, italy, 2018, sicily, italy

Palermo will be Italy's culture capital for the year 2018.

Man creates map of Palermo's 3,000+ monuments

January 24, 2017

Tags: map, monuments, palermo, sicily, city, historic, important

An unknown person, presumably of Palermo, single-handedly created this detailed map of Palermo's 3,000+ monuments.

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.

Halloween and anti-halloween parades intersect in Palermo

November 3, 2016

Tags: halloween, anti-halloween, parade, palermo

Sicilians have really taken to the American celebration of Halloween, but not all Sicilians. Several religious groups got together and formed an anti-Halloween parade in which everyone dressed in white and you were invited to carry images of saints. A wooden crucifix led the cortege through Palermo's new pedestrian malls and through back streets (more…)

Street food vendor Rocky

September 23, 2016

Tags: palermo, street food, sicily, culture, rocky

Rocky set up on my street corner in the Via Vittorio Emanuele every night and sold pane ca meuzza, in Sicilian, pane con la milza in Italian, or spleen and cheese sandwich in English, a typically Palermitan street food item.

Knifemakers of Palermo

September 19, 2016

Tags: palermo, streets, knives, factory, traditional, craft, artisan, sharpeners, vucciria, markets, street, profession

University of Palermo anthropology professor Carlo Di Franco, who took the picture, writes on his personal Facebook page that Palermo's old knife makers appear in all the old markets of the city: the Vucciria, Ballaro`, and the Capo markets. He photographed Mr. Salvatore Cambria who for 60 years has operated out of his shop and workshop in Discesa Maccarrronai (Macaroni Makers Descent) in the Vucciria market.

Islamic feast of the sacrifice celebrated outdoors in Palermo

September 13, 2016

Tags: multiculturism, islam, foro italico, palermo, sicily, religion, tolerance, acceptance, cosmopolitan, city, no fear, many colors.

A thousand faithful and Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando celebrate the Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice held seaside in the Foro Italico.

September 8, 2016

Tags: bombs, church, destruction, rubble, world war two, Casa Professa, palermo, sicily, italy

This Sicilian Baroque church was rebuilt, like many others in Palermo. Its original name is Chiesa di Gesu`, or Church of Jesus, established by Jesuits.

Taking on the Mafia: AL Jazeera documentary about Palermo

September 1, 2016

Tags: palermo, mafia, justice, sicily, italy, al jazeera


Sicilian judge Antonino Di Matteo is one of the most threatened - and protected - men in Italy. As the chief prosecutor in Italy's "trial of the century", he has more than 20 bodyguards, ensuring his safety around the clock. On trial are 10 men who stand accused of being part of a conspiracy between the mafia and the state. Five of the defendants are mafia bosses and five are members of the political establishment.

Kilometer of copper wire stolen, park in the dark

August 24, 2016

Tags: palermo, theft, copper wire, park, dark, favorita

A linear kilometer, about .6 mile worth, was stolen from La Favorita Park between downtown Palermo and Mondello, according to La Repubblica. 70 lights went out in the park.

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.

Street food

August 14, 2016

Tags: palermo, street food, sicily, culture



Catania and Palermo

Brother Biagio Conte of Palermo made it to Rome on foot, saw Pope today

July 20, 2016

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

In April Brother Biagio Conte took off from Palermo in a fit of pique because his homeless brothers were being mistreated. He decided to walk to Rome carrying a wooden cross. One of his faithful followers walked with him. When the pope heard that Biagio was nearing Rome, he scurried to clear a spot on his appointment calendar to make room for Biagio. This morning Biagio reached Rome and, according to this report in today's Giornale di Sicilia, Pope Francis met with him and Biagio's right-hand man, Father Pino Vitrano, informally for a half hour at one of his rooms at Santa Marta. ( Who was running the three urban homeless shelters, a constant state of emergency, while they were gone, I wonder?) (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.

392nd Feast of Santa Rosalia, patron saint of Palermo

July 15, 2016

Tags: santa rosalia, patron saint, palermo, festino, feast day

Once a year she rolls from the cathedral down Corso Vittorio Emanuele to the sea with a stop at the baroque Quattro Canti. 250,000 people were in attendance this year.

115-degreeheat, rampant fires, sirocco wind prompt state of emergency: with update

June 16, 2016

Tags: heat, fires, palermo, record, temperatures

Tens of fires, temperatures above 115 degrees, the sirocco blowing red sand from the Sahara have forced authorities to close nursery schools, day care centers and parts of the Palermo-Messina freeway today. Because of high winds, firefighting airplanes cannot fly.
Update: a trusted Palermo source on Palermo in Bianco e Nero's Facebook page says the column of smoke on Monte Pellegrino means thefires are menacing Santa Rosalia's sanctuary. Fires have broken out in the city in the neighborhoods of Partanna Mondello, Addaura, Vergine Maria. The Rotoli cemetery may go up in flames. People who live near the Cathedral in downtown Palermo have been evacuated.

Tough job

April 29, 2016

Tags: palermo, crime, cops, police, crowd, encircle, prevent, capture, burglars, escape, shots, fired, air, gun, tough, job, support, mafia

From this morning's La Repubblica.

Residents of La Kalsa, the ancient Arab-founded neighborhood of old Palermo and several businessmen helped a burglar pursued by police to escape. The police were encircled by the crowd and the thief got away with 10,000 euros he and three others had just robbed from a market (more…)

The heart of Palermo: city hosts parents of wounded refugee Yusupha Susso

April 22, 2016

Tags: Yusupha Susso, Gambia, shot, head, parents, heart, palermo, immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

Remember my blog about Yusupha Susso, the young Gambian refugee in Palermo who was shot in the head by a mafioso who wanted to prove he owned the territory the young man and his friends were standing in? Yusupha survived after five days in an induced coma. He speaks five languages, is the son (more…)

Update on Fra Biagio Conte

April 11, 2016

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

Fra Biagio Conte, the self-made brother who started a new religious order in Palermo to serve the poor, homeless and refugees, who feeds and houses a thousand people a day, is about to set off on a journey to Rome by foot, carrying a wooden cross, to see the pope about getting some support (more…)

Palermo's solidarity with wounded immigrant; mayor at head of protest march

April 9, 2016

Tags: immigrant, bulling, mafia, wounded, gunshots, The Gambia, Mayor, Leoluca Orlando, protest, racism, immigration, africa, palermo, sicilia, sicily, incident, march

A young man from Gambia was peacefully talking on a street corner with friends from his native Gambia when a mafioso-type jerk from the neighborhood came up to them and started insulting them. Usually, the immigrants will turn and run. But Yusupha Susso, a 21-year-old Gambian stuck up for himself and for his friends. (more…)

Arabian horse beauty contest in La Favorita Park

April 3, 2016

Tags: palermo, la favorita, park, clean, horse, arabian, contest, equestrian, beauty, urban

Mayor Leoluca Orlando had closed the La Favorita park to traffic for a few weeks of intensive cleaning before Easter. When the normally messy and littering Palermo public left it absolutely clean after Easter Monday's traditional Pasquetta picnic and barbecues, the newspapers reported the fact giddily. Now here's a scene from an Arabian horse beauty competition in the Favorita, Palermo style.
(more…)

Fra Biagio says he's leaving Palermo and Sicily

April 1, 2016

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

Fra Biagio Conte, lay founder of the Catholic church's youngest order, the Missionaries of Charity and Hope, says he is leaving Palermo hurt and disappointed because of what he calls the city's obstruction of his plan to help unfortunate people. Biagio Conte and his colleagues, guest "brothers and sisters,"an army of volunteers and (more…)

Palermo's traffic worst in Italy

March 22, 2016

Tags: palermo, traffic, sicily, italy, worst, record, snarls, commuters, wait, stuc, pollution, south, cars, waste, time, stink, exhaust, fumes, anger, beep, horn

In a year every Palermo commuter spends 147 hours blocked in traffic, according to the TomTom Traffic Index and La Repubblica, which measures traffic flow in 295 cities in 38 countries for all of 2015. Palermo, where buses get stuck behind carriage horses, had the worst traffic snarls in Italy. Second worst traffic city in Italy is Rome. (more…)

Car sex in Addaura a big problem

March 18, 2016

Tags: car, sex, wife swappers, erotic, couples, singles, threesomes, addaura, palermo, complaints, car park

New trend! Local residents at Addaura on the rocky coast between downtown Palermo and Mondello complain about the phenomenon of sex partner swappers and flashers parking on private property along the coast around 11 p.m. and exchanging sex all night. The campers arrive first followed closely by cars full of singles. The couples knock on the windows of the singles, (more…)

The immigrants' palace

March 7, 2016

Tags: immigrant, housing, palermo, sicily, poverty, crumbling, 78 Piazza Tedeschi

78 Piazza Tedeschi
And these are not squatters. There are people who pay dearly to live in a place like this. I know this little piazzetta well because I saw it every day when I visited the Le Balate Library for Children and Babies just a block away.

The Chinese Palace

March 6, 2016

Tags: palazzina cinese, chinese palace, favorita, splendor, palermo, sicily

Interior hall in three-story Palazzina Cinese in La Favorita Park
Construction on King Ferdinand IV's Palazzina Cinese in La Favorita Park began in 1799. Chinoiserie was all the rage then, and this was the second Chinese-type house Ferdinand owned and was designed by the same architect.

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…)

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…)

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…)

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

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…)

Fra Biagio Conte sleeping outdoors again

January 27, 2016

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

The city and regional government have broken their promises and robbed the poor of hope says lay missionary Fra Biagio Conte whose Mission of Hope and Charity houses and feeds more than a thousand destitute people, Palermitans and immigrants alike in four urban missions and now on several farms in Sicily. Fra Biagio says (more…)

Cityscape: Via Castelnuovo

January 23, 2016

Tags: Vicolo Castelnuovo, palermo, albegheria, via Vittorio Emanuele, paving stones, hexagonal

Another medieval street with hexagonal paving stones
Vicolo Castelnuovo is off the Via Vittorio Emanuele in the Albergheria quarter. Only a few streets in Palermo are still paved with these elegant hexagonal paving stones. The street is surprisingly free of garbage. South Asians live here.

First snow

January 17, 2016

Tags: palermo, snow, mountain, La Zisa, arab-norman, palace, mountain, cold, sicily, 2016

The first really cold days of 2016 have hit Sicily and the snow is sticking to the mountains that ring Palermo.

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.

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.

Cityscape: Piazzetta degli Angelini

January 6, 2016

Tags: palermo, sicily, slideshow, monuments, beautiful, city, urban, europe, historic center


The paving stones are honeycomb-shaped! Author Giuseppe Di Lampedusa's family home gave onto this piazzetta. It was destroyed by an American bomb during WWII, rebuilt and now, just recently, turned into apartments. There used to be a water tower and fountain here that brought icy cold water from the mountains, and thirsty aristocrats would (more…)

Cityscape: La Guilla

January 4, 2016

Tags: la guilla, palermo, cathedral, street. scene, urban, steps, salita, ramirez, Sicily

This is why I love to roam the back streets of Palermo -- you find streets like this in the historic center. It had been a dump but now it's cleaned up, and somebody started a little garden there. From the Facebok group I Monumenti Abbandonati di Palermo, a group which also meets physically (more…)

New Year's Day, Palermo 1934

January 2, 2016

Tags: palermo, 1934, film, black and white, sicily, architecture, Liberty, Villa Delliella, cathedral, teatro massimo, politeama, gardens, citizens, New Year 1934

Here's a short, silent home movie of Palermo in the thirties. It shows the Liberty gem Villa Deliella, (02:27 behind palms) destroyed in a night in the 1950s by the mafia to make way for a high rise, now the site of a car wash. Its absence breaks the hearts of Palermitans.
(more…)

Happy New Year

December 31, 2015

Tags: palermo, sicily, slideshow, monuments, beautiful, city, urban, europe, historic center

A look at the best of Palermo.

How's that bike sharing going?

December 30, 2015

Tags: bicycles, bike sharing, thieves, palermo, cops. sicily

Four of the city's new bicycles in the bike-share program inaugurated mid-December had been stolen and found by Palermo police.

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.

Barber cuts homeless men's hair gratis after work

December 24, 2015

Tags: kindness, La Danza delle Ombre, palermo, sicily, homeless, men, women senza tetto, Dr. Marina Scardavi

Vi ho visto sul giornale La Repubblica negli states! Auguri e buon natale a tutti gli amici di LDDO.

Posted by Reve Couleurs on Thursday, December 24, 2015
A barber in Palermo leaves work and goes to cut the hair of homeless men and women at a shelter near Palermo's port. I recognize some of the homeless men in this short video from La Repubblica. They are guests of the 40-bed dormitory run by La Danza delle Ombre (The Shadow Dance) a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Marina Scardavi, Palermo's street doctor to the homeless. From their Facebook page.

Palermo cathedral this Christmas

December 21, 2015

Tags: palermo, cathedral, christmas, lights, beauty, architecture, Pietro Cancelliere, photographer

Away from the hustle and bustle of shopping, Pietro Cancelliere captured the Christmas beauty of the Cathedral at night.

Palermo before the war slideshow

December 20, 2015

Tags: slideshow, black and white, photos, palermo, sicily, Palermo in bianco e nero, facebook, new c'era una volta Palermo felicissima, Gianfry Fiero



A new slideshow of old Palermo found on the Facebook group Palermo in Bianco e Nero by Ganfry Fiero.

Politeama sepia post card

December 17, 2015

Tags: Teatro, politeama, palermo, sicily, sicilia, architecture, innovation, culture, capital, horseshoe

From the Facebook group "Palermo in Bianco e Nero" (Palermo in black and white), a group pf passionate Palermo lovers, many of whom are amateur historians of the city, great connoisseurs of the city. I will translate the first few comments here:

When the palms were still little!
Splendid.
When the theater was brand new!
When Palermitans loved and respected Palermo. (more…)

New: Bike-sharing in Palermo

December 14, 2015

Tags: palermo, bike, bicycle, bike, sharing, mobility, modern, sicily, environment, sustainable, alternative, transportation

Let's see how this goes in Palermo. If people respect the bikes, don't steal them, don't trash them out of pure joy in vandalism. The capital city's brand new bike -sharing system is all set up and ready to go tomorrow.
The service provides 400 bikes, plus 20 more electric-motor-assisted bikes, at 37 bike stations. The electric bikes will be charged by solar panels installed in the bike stations.

11,360 unaccompanied minor immigrant children arrived in Sicily this year

December 13, 2015

Tags: ghana, palermo, sicily, immigrant, unaccompanied minor, boy alone, alone, boy, travel, ghana, CIE, odyssey

From the Guardian:
From 1 January to 6 December this year, 11,360 unaccompanied children like Jamieson – mainly from Eritrea, Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia and Senegal – arrived on its shores.

‘I did not ever think I would reach here,” says 17-year-old Jamieson, staring down at his dusty blue Crocs, given to him when he disembarked from the rescue boat in Sicily, in August. “I look back and I could have died many times. But I try to stop thinking of it. (more…)

Mattarella today unveils copy of Caravaggio's Nativity, stolen in 1969

December 12, 2015

Tags: caravaggio, stolen, Oratorio, san lorenzo, palermo, sicily, art theft, heist, replacement, copy, Presdent Matarella, mafia, 1969

The theft of Caravaggio’s Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence from an oratory in Palermo in 1969 is still considered one of the worst art crimes in history.
The 17th-century masterpiece – a depiction of the newborn Christ on a bed of straw, painted in the chiaroscuro technique – was thought to have been painted by Caravaggio in Rome and later moved to Sicily, where it hung for centuries before being cut from its frame by two thieves in the night, never to be seen again.

Free Jazz at Palazzo Mirto

December 9, 2015

Tags: palermo, sicily, urban, culture, music, jazz, concert, free, mirto, palazzo mirto, piazza marina, opportunity, thrinax quartet, louis prima

If you were living in Palermo, this evening you could attend a free jazz concert given in this room at the mansion/museum of Palazzo Mirto just off Piazza Marina in the historic center of Palermo.
The Thrinax Quartet will play the canopied, tapestried, frescoed and chandeliered baldacchino room at the Mirto Palace at five this afternoon. The concert is dedicated to Louis Prima. Admission is free.

Lampedusa's Palermo home renovated, now apartments

December 3, 2015

Tags: lampedusa, house, home, apartment, palermo, sicily, author, landmark, renovation, nice!

Italy's greatest 20th-century writer Giuseppe Lampedusa's house in Palermo is once again a home, for six families. It has been made into apartments. Here is a video report from La Repubblica:

Bakery gives out free food to the needy

December 1, 2015

Tags: bakery, bread, free, palermo, needy, help, donation, food, sicily, kind, kindness, goodness, real christians

The La Spiga d'Oro bakery in Palermo says the following on its Facebook page today:
To you who are having a hard time....
To you who have a family to feed....
To you who can't stretch the budget to the end of the month...
Don't grovel!
Evenings from 8 p.m. to to 9p.m. stopby and we'll make available everything we did not sell in the line of bread, pizzas, savory buns, foccacce and more...
Our small gesture is just a little help for your life!!!!
The Spiga d'Oro Bread Bakery.
(It's name means "Golden Grain" Bakery.)
Bravi.

Destroyed Liberty masterpiece may be reproduced in situ

November 30, 2015

Tags: ernesto basile, architect, Liberty style, art nouveau, architecture, treasure, destroyed, mob, mafia, reconstruct, palermo, sicily, urban, recoup, culture

Two young Palermo architects have proposed recreating Ernesto Basile's Liberty masterpiece, Villa Deliella, according to the original blueprints which still exist, and to make a museum of it. The idea has the support of politician, art critic and entertainer Vittorio Sgarbi. The art nouveau masterpiece was destroyed over a weekend in 1959 during the Sack of Palermo by mob types who wanted to clear space for their concrete high-density retail/ apartment buildings. From Best of Sicily magazine: (more…)

rainy day today in Palermo

November 29, 2015

Tags: bike, rain, palermo, lights, city, street, cobbles, maqueda

It's been raining in Palermo. Pilons that hold up bridges have moved out of place on the Palermo-Sciacca highway, a boulder rolled off a mountain and killed an 88-year-old woman asleep in her bed in Mondello ( maybe the house was built illegally close to the mountain) and Corso Vittorio Emanuele stones shone under this bike.

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.

Jacarandas proposed for Via E. Amari

November 21, 2015

Tags: jacaranda, tree, palermo, via amari, tourism, semi-tropical

Palermo cut down some ancient trees to install a new tram line, and now they are thinking about what to plant in their place. Along Via Emerico Amari, which leads to the Politeama theater from the cruise ship port, the city counselor in charge of urban greenery, Francesco Maria Raimondo, is thinking about planting (more…)

La Favorita Park from on high

November 17, 2015

Tags: parco della favorita, parl, green like vermont, palermo, urban park, greenery, lungs, recreation, nature, city, together, protect, please, historical, palazzina cinese.

Parco della Favorita, on the north end of downtown Palermo, by Siculdrone. Splendid.

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…)

Police video of extortionist at work

October 31, 2015

Tags: pizzo, protection money, clan, mob, mafia, payment, thug, police, spy, microphone, caught on tape, arrests, carabinieri, greengrocer, palermo, sicily, sicilia, italy, crime, collaborator, danger



The mafia charges monthly protection money even from traveling street vendors, like this guy who sells produce from his three-wheeled (more…)

Palermo has the largest Ficus macrophylla on the continent

October 22, 2015

Tags: Ficus macrophylla, palermo Villa Garibaldi, largest, Europe. record-holder, aerial roots, Orto Botanico, Botanic Garden, palermo, sicily, italy, europe, garden, tree, giant, loved, culture, history

Here it is: Ficus macrophylla at Garibaldi Park at Piazza Marina, near the sea
Its siblings in the Orto Botanico (Botanic Garden) are rivals for the title of largest Ficus macrophylla in Europe. I love their aerial roots, majestic girth and shade.

Rick Steves at the Ballaro` suq in Palermo

October 15, 2015

Tags: ballaro`, palermo, suq, street market, travel, sicily, food, singing wares, vegetables, meat, fish

Rick Steves did a good job on this short clip of merchants singing their wares.

Rosalia at the Catacombs as she used to be

October 2, 2015

Tags: Rosalia, mummy, palermo, capuchin catacombs, change

The old Rosalia
Here's Rosalia, the star of the Capuchin Catacombs mummies, a two-year-old girl who died in Palermo around 1920 and was mummified and left behind. You can't see her in this configuration any more, nor even get close to her.

Tower of S. Nicolo`, Bagheria

September 8, 2015

Tags: toree s. Nicolo`, bagheria, view, night, open, september, beauty, city, palermo, sicily, sicilia

View from the Tower of S. Nicolo`, Albergheria, Palermo
On 12 September, the Tower of the Church of San Nicolo` in the heart of Albergheria in Old Palermo will be open until midnight for half-hour tours. The view is so beautiful. Palermo at night can't be beat.

Incident of Racism and Ignorance at Palermo

August 20, 2015

Tags: racism, fight, bus, palermo, sicily, sicilia, 101, cigarette, request, arrest, ghana, immigrants

Two immigrants from Ghana were riding the bus, the 101, which passes every ten minutes. Two local guys got on the bus, smoking cigarettes, which is not allowed. The immigrants asked the Palermo boys to put out their cigarettes, and the two started to beat up the immigrants, who defended themselves. The bus driver stopped (more…)

More Palermo by night

August 14, 2015

Tags: chiavettieri, vucciria, night, life, palermo, Sicilia, sicily, chaos, party, drink, fun, overcrowding, loud, broken beer bottles, chiasso, drunk, talk too much



Used to be Palermo had no night life, they rolled up the sidewalks after supper. You had to belong to a club in order to get into a bar with music and liquor. I don't what happened or exactly (more…)

Volunteers give psychological counseling to immigrant torture and trauma victims

August 1, 2015

Tags: volunteers, migrants, palermo, sicily, africa, psychological help, immigrants, Mediterranean immigration, violence, trauma, torture

They tell of torture in the country of origin or during the long voyage to Europe, which may last years. But also psychological traumas undergone n the Italy's "welcome centers". The walk-in clinic of Palermo General Hospital Immigration Medicine has been in service for seven years thanks to the work of volunteers who work (more…)

In Memory of Paolo Borsellino, a real hero who knew who his real enemies were

July 19, 2015

Tags: paolo borsellion, slaughter by state, mafia, palermo, prescient, poster, death anniverserary, murder, isolated

Anti-mafia judge Paolo Borsellino, who was murdered 23 years ago, knew the risks and said so.
The text is from Judge Paolo Borsellino's red diary, the "agenda rossa" which he never showed to others and which he always kept on his person. It disappeared from the site of the bombing in Via D'Amelio which left Borsellino's corpse limbless. It says:
"They will kill me but it won't be by mafia vendetta, the mafia doesn't indulge in revenge. Maybe it will be mafiosi who physically kill me, but the ones who will have wanted me dead will be others."

Palermo commemorates anniversary of murder of anti-Mafia Judge Paolo Borsellino

July 19, 2015

Tags: death, murder by state, mafia, multiple homicide, via D'Amelio, palermo, commemoration

It's Sunday, as it was on this date 23 years ago in Via D'Amelio, Palermo. But this time the street is not deserted and isolated like the one that awaited the three autos carrying Paolo Borsellino and his escort. A speaker's stand, flags, colors and many people await the minute, 4:58 p.m., in which a (more…)

40,000 immigrants to Sicily this year, 4,000 arrived just this week.

July 19, 2015

Tags: immigrants, refugees, sicily, overcrowded, sent away, mediterranean, africa, sicily, italy, pushback laws, rejected, palermo, too much, too many

The most recent arrivals have been turned away and sent to Sardinia and Calabria because Sicilian immigrant "reception" centers, where immigrants are housed and fed while their fates are decided-- accepted as refugee or sent back to Africa -- are overcrowded and not up to the job of accepting or deferring waves of thousands of arrivals. (more…)

Feast of S. Rosalia started today

July 14, 2015

Tags: festino, palermo, sicily, santa rosalia, feast, annual, religious, procession

Crowds outside the Palermo cathedral
The 391st edition of the five-day Feast of Santa Rosalia started today outside the cathedral where her bones are kept in a giant silver urn. The theme of this year's "festino" is Misericordia, which translates as mercy or benevolence.

A restored palace in Via Maqueda

July 13, 2015

Tags: palazzo Gravina, palermo, sicily, palace, restoration, chandeliers, fresco, ceiling, proud, beauty, urban

You cannot tell a book by its cover. From the outside this palace does not look like much. The man who showed me around has a workshop downstairs. He went to school in this building, now a private residence owned by the family who once owned Palermo's soccer team. And a pasta factory.

The poor give to the Poor. BRAVI!!

July 12, 2015

Tags: falsomiele, palermo, poor, immigrants, refugees, welcome, gifts, clothes, food, shelter, generous, big-hearted, imigration, Mediterranean Sea, morti, dead, drowned, shipwreck

In just under 24 hours, one of the poorest and toughest neighborhoods of Palermo mobilized to welcome and care for the 717 refugees, including survivors of shipwreck, who arrived in Palermo yesterday, according to La Repubblica. Volunteers from the Falsomiele neighborhood brought clothes, shoes and tee shirts to distribute to thewomen and children, people who arrived, (more…)

New arrivals

June 30, 2015

Tags: refugees, palermo, ports, ireland, ship, mediterranean, arrivals

An Irish military ship , Le Eithne, picked up 647 migrants in trouble at sea and brought them to Palermo. Among them were 95 women, two of whom were pregnant. A group of 180 migrans were transferred by ferry from Lampedusa to Porto Empedocle where they will arrive this evening.

Mafia stronghold given to scouts today

June 23, 2015

Tags: altarello di baida, palermo, mafia, scouts, italy, confiscated, andreotti, matarella, assassination, collusion, state, mafia, pre-Riina

The first property Judge Giovanni Falcone confiscated from the mafia in 1980 will be given officially to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Italy today, although they have been camping and working here for years. The rual compound also contains a qanat and a sirocco room which I visited with Geologist Dr. Pietro Todaro. The (more…)

Refugees become Volunteers for New Refugees

June 20, 2015

Tags: refugee, palermo, caritas, help, volunteer, sbarchi, arrivals, immigration, illegal, africa, mali, ivory coast, ships, mediterranean, port

A beautiful story by my favorite La Repubblica reporter, Claudia Brunetto. I translate it here:
They arrived last June at the port of Palermo, picked up on the high seas by a military ship. And since then they live in the parish of Falsomiele, guided by Father Sergio Mattaliano, director of the Catholic charity (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.

Funny and Sad

June 19, 2015

Tags: santa cita, palermo, obscene, cultural heritage, priest, vandals, graffiti, phallic, symbols, curse, words, obliterate, funny, sad, typical, illogical, abandoned monumnets, monumnet, serpotta, sculpture

The crumbling wall of the Oratorio of the Most Holy Rosary in Santa Cita, known locally in Palermo as just "Santa Cita" is covered with obscene graffiti. Inside is one of the baroque masterpieces of stucco moulding, by Palermitano sculptor Giacomo Serpotta, an all-white extravaganza recently cleaned and restored. But on the outside were phallic symbols, (more…)

May 23, 23 years ago, Falcone murdered by the mob and Italian state

May 24, 2015

Tags: falcone, mafia, palermo, assisantion, murder, judge, investigator, maryr, antimafia

Falcone and Borsellino
Giovanni Falcone and his escort , Francesca Morvillo, Vito Schifani, Rocco Dicillo and Antonio Montinaro, were blown up by the mafia by 500 kilos of explosives on the highway between the Palermo airport and town. I had just returned to the states from Palermo and had been on that road after reporting on that spring's Favignana (more…)

Beloved Liberty demeter to be restored

May 21, 2015

Tags: Demeter, bread, grain, mosaic, Liberty, art nouveau, Capo, palermo, sicily, italy, restoration, remove, donations, culture, popular

The oldest business sign in Palermo, a Liberty ( Art Nouveau) mosaic of the goddess Demeter, goddess of grain, which advertised the only recently defunct Panificio Morello, a bakery in the Capo street market, is beng removed from its site on the front of a derepit building and being taken to the Palazzo Aiutamicristo for (more…)

Funeral Fireworks in Piazza Independenza

April 27, 2015

Tags: funeral, fireworks, cortege, traffic, palermo, sicilia, sicily

http://video.repubblica.it/edizione/palermo/palermo-corteo-funebre-traffico-bloccato-per-sparare-i-petardi/199084/198127#commenta
Here is a video of a funeral cortege that stops traffic in the middle of Piazza Independenza in downtown historic center of Palermo. They open the door to the hearse carrying the corpse, and set off fireworks so the deceased can see them. One commentor said, " (more…)

650 immigrants land safely in Sicily

April 22, 2015

Tags: immigrants, clandestine, africa, palermo, sicily, italy, frontex, bossi-fini law

450 landed safely today at Augusta, Sicily and another 200 at Pozzallo, Sicily.

Mayor Leoluca Orlando: Europe Like Pontius Pilate

April 18, 2015

Tags: europe, wash hands, immigrants, emergency, migration, africa, sicily, italy, palermo, tragedy

Mayor Orlando says Europe has washed its hands of the tragedy and abandoned Sicily and Italy to its own devices when it comes to handling the huge continuing wave of refugees.
Three rescued Somalis, picked up by Maltese mercantile ship, arrived at Palermo and were hospitalized for health problems. Altogether 91 Somalis arrived at Palermo's (more…)

Roads and viaducts fall apart; Sicily divided in two

April 17, 2015

Tags: highway, roads, mudslides, poor construction, graft, sicily, palermo, transportation, mess

Last week Sicily was cut in two when an overpass on the Palermo-Catania Highway A19 broke up. One of the pilons sustaining the bridge ceded to a mudslide, leaned like the Tower of Pisa and is now pressing against other pilons. Engineers say the bridge will have to be demolished and rebuilt. Sicily has (more…)

Vucciria: paving stones dug up for year

April 17, 2015

Tags: vucciria, palermo, sicilia, sicily, italy, marketplace, old neigborhood, centro storico, historic center

After the crumbling of several buildings in the neglected Vucciria, the city has finally decided to spend some time and money fixing the historic market site up. It will take a year, with a firm that "works very fast", to pull up the limestone paving stones, work on the light and telephone cables and (more…)

Multiple murder by migrants at sea; Christians thrown overboard

April 16, 2015

Tags: migrants, moslems, christians, sicily, palermo

Sicilian police have jailed 15 Moslems accused of throwing more than ten Christians overboard into the open sea. They were a hundred moslems and Christians traveling together on a trafficker's rubber raft seeking to reach Sicily ( and Europe) when a fight over religion broke out.

A thousand refugees are expected to land in Sicily today. (more…)

3000 immigrants today

April 13, 2015

Tags: sicily, palermo, immigrants, death, mediterranean, graveyard, Frontex

1,169 immigrants expected in Palermo alone by tomorrow morning. After the winter hiatus, immigrants are making the dangerous trip in unseaworthy boats and rafts again. More than ten rescue operations in the Canale di Sicilia today alone.

Calendar rock at S. Ciparello, Palermo Province

April 8, 2015

Tags: palermo, prehistoric, megalithic, archeology geoarcheologist, San Ciparello, MOnte aricvocaloto, astronomical calendar, rock, civilization, religion, farming, agriculture, culture

Archeologist Alberto Scuderi, geoarcheologist Francesca Mercadante and her husband and co-explorer Dr. Pippo Lo Cascio have discovered that a seven-foot high rock with a hole carved out of it on a hilltop in Palermo province was actually a second-millenium B.C. megalithic structure that celebrates the winter solstice. On December 22 the first rays of (more…)

Votive altar at night

April 3, 2015

Tags: street, street shrine, votive, altar, palermo, vicolo, lights, bright, illumiated, sicily, religion, folklore, ballaro, albergheria

This votive altar was in the Albergheria quarter. A the end of this street are five steps down and you are right in front of the gated entrance to the cathedral. I loved the lights strung on in vertical stripes.

Ex votos

April 1, 2015

Tags: ex voto, palermo, sicily, silver, santa rosalia, grotto, monte san pellegrini, shrine, religious, tradition

It is a tradition all over southern Italy to promise a thing of value to a saint in exchange for a "grazia ricevuta", a favor received, often a cure. Those who could afford it often bought silver miniature bas relief replicas of the body part which received the grace. They pin them to the (more…)

mafia wins one

March 23, 2015

Tags: mafia, pizzo, no pizzo, vucciria, palermo, sicily, siclia, italy, damage, threats, piss, urinate

From La Repubblica/Palermo edition of 22 March 2015.
A restaurant owner has given up and decided to move out of the Vucciria market area and night life hub of Palermo after a bonfire on the Eve of Saint Joseph's Feast (March 19) practically destroyed his business and put his customers and staff in danger. (more…)

Stealing light

March 14, 2015

Tags: palermo, theft, hacking, stealing, theft, electricity, light, police, investigation

From today's La Repubblica Palermo edition:

Hundreds of people reduced their electric bill to zero with a single jack in a distribution box and people lined up out the door of a hacker nicknamed the Magician of the Computer to pay 300 euros to have their meter's software modified so as not to register usage. (more…)

Open-air sirocco room

March 10, 2015

Tags: scirocco room, camera dello scirocco, villa savagnone, altarello di baida, palermo, sicily, sicilia, refresh

An old photo of the sirocco room before it was filled with refuse. It is now clean and pristine again, thanks to the scouts of Sicily.
This is an outdoor sirocco room where eighteenth -century grandees would go to cool off in the summer when the hot, humid wind blew up from the Sahara. The source of the cooling, flowing water is a qanat. It is located withing the Palermo city limits, in a southern, somewhat rural, quarter called Altarello (more…)

Roberto Helg, head of Palermo's Chamber of Commerce, arrested for extortion

March 3, 2015

Tags: pizzo, protection money, extortion, palermo, chamber of commerce, anti-mafia, blowhard, no trust, hard to run a business in palermo

From today's La Repubblica. This man who paid lip service to anti-extortionists and anti-mafia movements was caught red handed pocketing part of the 100,000-EURO fee he charged a pastry-shop owner in order to renew his lease at the Palermo airport. At first he denied the (more…)

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.

Palazzo Valguanera Gangi

February 24, 2015

Tags: Palazzo valguanera gangi, palermo, sicily, sicilia, salone

Just look at it. The aristocrats who danced here probably had their shirts laundered in the Danissini stream (see post below.)

Washerwomen of Danissini, Palermo, early 1900s

February 24, 2015

Tags: danissini, palermo, washerwomen, sicily

In the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the women of Danissini, in downtown Palermo, were renowned launderers for the rich and aristocratic. They took in the counts' and dukes' soiled, frilly white shirts, washed them in the stream you see here and ironed them. Danissini is one of the poorest parts of Palermo. (more…)

Serpotta slideshow

February 8, 2015

Tags: Serpotta, photo, slideshow, palermo, Luciano Romeo fotografo, white, sculpture, churches, oratorio, chapel



https://www.flickr.com/photos/luciano52/15097563993/


Photo slide show of Serpotta's white plaster sculptures at Palermo. Incredible.
Photos by Luciano Romeo. Excellent!!!! Open the slide show and use the zoom tool to see the incredible details.

Palermo by day

February 8, 2015

Tags: palermo, panorama, beauty, sicily, sicilia

Here is a fine shot of Palermo by day, the same scene as Palermo by Night, of my Feb. 1 blog post below. If you don't look down at the refuse and garbage on the ground, things look really good.

Park at Piazza Independenza a Mess

February 7, 2015

Tags: park, palermo, piazza Independenza, rude, uncivilized, jerks, vandals, abandon, no care

This park,used very much by retired me who sit in the sun and play cards, has been vandalized, abused and neglected, like so many spots in Palermo. You have to take the good with the bad here.

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…)

Italy's New President a Victim of the Mafia

February 1, 2015

Tags: mafia, mattarella, palermo, ucciso, fratello

Today Sergio Mattarella, who in 1980 pulled his dead brother, Piersanti, then President of the Sicilian region, from his car, was elected President of the Republic of Italy. Yes, if you lose your brother to dirty assassins, you are a victim. A man from the south, one who has shed tears because of the Mafia, is now at the head of the country. (more…)

Palermo By Night

February 1, 2015

Tags: palermo, night, sicily, beauty

Palermo by Night
She is never more beautiful. This is a view of the Palermo cathedral from a rooftop in the historic center. Photographer unknown to me.

Bicycles for Sale in Via Divisi

January 31, 2015

Tags: bicycle, shop, sales, via divisi, palermo, historic center, sicily

A cross street of Via Roma in the old historic center. There are still bike shops there.
Just about every Palermitano has bought at least one bike here. I found this excellent photo on the facebook group "Palermo in Bianco e Nero." Photographer unknown to me.

Mattresses in the street

January 26, 2015

Tags: mattress, palermo, sicily

Mattresses everywhere you look.
Everywhere you walk in historic Palermo, there are mattresses in the street. They can be taken away by the city for free by simply calling a toll-free number, but I think either the Palermitani don't know about this service, or they leave the mattresses for homeless people to sleep on. Some are thoughtfully kept (more…)

Rosalia at the Catacombs

January 25, 2015

Tags: mummy, rosalia, capuchin catacombs, palermo, sicily, sicilia

The two-year-old Rosalia mummified and on display at the capuchin catacombs. She is now in a space-age pod and not so accessible. Photo from Claudio Pezzillo.
Little Rosalia was embalmed so well.

Emigant Ships in Palermo Harbor

January 22, 2015

Tags: emigrant, ship, palermo, harbor, port, emigration, sicily, sicilia

My grandmother or my grandfather might have boarded one of these ships. Emigration is big business. It was legal to go to the United States, so my grandparents could travel ( separately; they weren't married when they left Sicily) in safe, steel ships instead of on rubber rafts or in unseaworthy fishing boats like the (more…)

Teatro Massimo live web-cam

January 21, 2015

Tags: teatro massimo, palermo, webcam, sicily, sicilia, italy

http://www.casateatromassimo.it/webcam/ctm_snap.jpg

Above is the link to the live web cam of the famous Teatro Massimo, on whose steps the last scene of the Godfather III was filmed. A new picture appears every minute.

La Zisa

January 20, 2015

Tags: La Zisa, palermo, norman arab, architecture, pool, reflection, sicily, sicilia, beauty, twelfth century, water, M. D'Ippolito

La Zisa reflection pools. Photo: M. D'Ippolito
Palermo is famous for its Norman-Arab architecture. Here is the 12th-century pleasure palace La Zisa.

Pietra Tara

January 19, 2015

Tags: bronze age, village, sferracavallo, palermo, sicily, sicilia, italy, discovery

Archeogeologist Dr. Francesca Mercadante and her husband, Dr. Pippo Locascio, of Partanna-Mondello, have dicovered an intact megalithic Bronze Age village within Palermo's northern city limits, on the littoral below the cliffs of Capo Gallo between the seaside villages of Sferracavallo and Mondello.

Columns in the archives.

January 15, 2015

Tags: palermo, archivio, archive, sicilia, sicily, italy, city, capital, region

Here is another view of the Palermo city archives.
Today a thumb drive could contain it all.

Inside the Palermo city archive

January 13, 2015

Tags: palermo, archivio, archive, sicilia, sicily, italy, city, capital, region

It's Dizzying.
The Palermo city archives off Via Maqueda is an experience in itself. It was designed like the inside of a cargo ship. It was recently spruced up and the staff offer guided tours of the collections. Thanks to Facebook group Palermo in Bianco e Nero for this photo. This shot is taken from the (more…)

Upgrade in Piazza Cassarelli

January 9, 2015

Tags: palermo, sicilia, sicily, Italy, Piazza Cassarelli, renovations, upgrade, city, back streets

From one of my favorite blogs, Amo Palermo. The author walks around the city center with a camera and snaps pictures of buildings and streets undergoing improvements. It's a blog with a lot of positive energy. The author now has a regular column in the newspaper Il Corriere .

Postcard from Palermo

January 5, 2015

Tags: palermo, piazza bologni, night, christmas, lights, cassaro, corso vittorio emanuele

Piazza Bologni, also on the Cassaro, since last year at this time has been auto-free. Mayor Leoluca Orlando has been freeing up various historic piazzas, turning them from parking lots into pedestrian malls. From the blog "Amo Palermo," which means, I Love Palermo.

Flowers at night

January 4, 2015

Tags: costagar51, photo, cassaro, corso vittorio emanuele, palermo, notte, balcone, fiorito

A flowery balcony on the Cassaro by costagar51.
Thanks to costagar51, an avid Palermo fan and photographer, whose work I admire on the blog Domodama. even the narrowest, most decrepit alleyways in the historic center are lit by these elegant, cast iron lamps. This photo of a balcony laden with flower pots was taken on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo's oldest street, (more…)

Snow for New Year's Eve

January 1, 2015

Tags: snow, nevicata, palermo, sicily, sicilia, San Silvestro, New Year's Eve

A palm tree in an unusual snow storm in Palermo.
Front-page headlines on 1 January 2015. Snow on the beach at Cefalu`. Snow on the palm trees. Dirty city snowmen. Only two snowplows in all of the Madonie mountains. Photos sent in to La Repubblica by its readers at this link:
http://palermo.repubblica.it/cronaca/2015/01/01/news/maltempo_ancora_disagi_in_provincia_le_foto_dei_lettori_raccontano_la_neve_in_sicilia-104146809/#gallery-slider=104142503

So funny!

December 21, 2014

Tags: robber, spider man, l'uomo ragno, palermo, sicily, sicilia, on the loose

Spider Man, the burglar, caught with his backpack on.
For the autumn of 2012 I lived at the Palazzo Vannucci on the Cassaro, I had a third-floor bedroom that stretched from the facade of the palace to the back of the palace, plus the studio underneath that, (more…)

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.

Sedie Volanti

November 20, 2014

Tags: flying chairs, sedie volanti, palermo, transportation, bearers, sicily, sicilia, italia, italy

Two Flying Chairs
Near the end of the Capo street market in the quarter behind the Palermo cathedral is a narrow lane called Street of the Flying Chairs where once these elegant travel booths were made. The cabs were carried on long poles on men's shoulders and seemed to fly above the crowds. Men and women of (more…)

Persimmons

November 2, 2014

Tags: persimmon, market, ballaro`, street, palermo, sicily, italy, sicilia, italia, fruit, frutta, gente, people, buy, sell

Persimmons at Ballaro` market
I ate my first persimmon in Palermo. You cut off the top and eat he flesh with a small spoon. So sweet, one does not talk while eating them. Friends will bring over a basket of them for dessert. They look like frosted tomatoes.

The Cuticchio family

October 17, 2014

Tags: cuticchio, puppet, sicilian, palermo, sicilia, sicily, italia, italy, culture, family, figli d'arte

A multi-headed monster puppet representing the Cuticchio family of puppeteers
In the hundreds of episodes that make up one drama from the repertoire of the Siciilan puppet theater, there is one many-headed monster which appears only once onstage. This lifelike sculpture is a spoof on that monster, representing instead the now-deceased head of the Cuticchio family and his children, puppeteers all, growing from his head.

Nut and seed store

October 15, 2014

Tags: store, seeds, nuts, cereals, kalsa, palermo, sicily, sicilia, italia, italy, cereali, semi

Loved this storefront
I found this nut and seed store while wandering the back streets of La Kalsa, the central Palermo neighborhood directly across the street from my palace rooms in Via Vittorio Emmanuele. I just liked the way it looked.

Kids in the street

September 29, 2014

Tags: Missione Santa Chiara, palermo, sicilia, sicily, albergheria, ballaro`, immigrant, children, happy

I was walking home from an event at the Santa Chiara urban mission in the ancient, low-income Albergheria neighborhood of Palermo when these boys who were kicking a soccer ball around in the street said, "Take my picture! We'll be on YouTube!"

Three-seater

August 10, 2014

Tags: bike, mercato usato, palermo, sicily, sicilia, ballaro`

Three-seater bicycle at the Mercato del usato, a flea market in Ballaro`, Palermo
Found this three-seater bicycle at the "mercato del usato", the used items market in Ballaro`. About a year and a half later I saw it again in the workshop of Palermo inventor Marcello Lampone.

Olives at the Ballaro` market

June 11, 2014

Tags: olives, green, street, market, ballaro`, palermo, sicily, sicilia, italy

Green olives, Ballaro` market
A bank of green olives for sale in the Ballaro` market street.

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.

The Pink and Black

May 31, 2014

Tags: soccer, football, palermo, sicily, team

Grafitti I found in Il Capo market
Palermo just made it back into the A league of national soccer. Their team wears pink and black uniforms.

Cuticchio's Puppet Theater

May 29, 2014

Tags: puppet, theater, cuticchio, figli d'arte, tradition, palermo, sicily art, marionettes

http://www.figlidartecuticchio.com/
Some of the best entertainment in the city right in the heart of it, near the Teatro Massimo in Via Bara all'Olivella. Enacting the stories of the paladins of Charlemagne.

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.

(more…)

Mosque

May 15, 2014

Tags: mosque, palermo, via celso, Mulberry Street

The Mosque in Via Celso
I am not sure what this building was before it was a mosque. The fence posts bear crescent moons and often I see clean wet laundry hung on the fence, jeans and shirts, as if someone lives there. Many Moslems go to storefront mosques on Friday afternoons, but this one is lovely with rugs (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.

Opium Poppy

May 8, 2014

Tags: opium, poppy, flower, drug, sicily, palermo, sferracavallo, paleogeology, archeogeology, temple

Dr. Francesca Mercadante shoots an opium poppy
Archeogeologist Francesca Mercadante, of Partanna Mondello, photographs an opium poppy growing in someone's driveway garden in Sferracavallo, a fishing village quartiere on the north side of Palermo. Dr. Mercadante said that a vase found at a Greek temple in Sicily had vegetation depicted on it. One decorative illustration, for many years, had been misinterpreted (more…)

Pietra Tara, a megalithic Bronze-Age village in Sferracavallo

May 4, 2014

Tags: vermont, palermo, pietra tara, Bronze Age, village, megalithic, culture, city limits


I am back in Vermont but I still have plenty to show and tell from my most recent three-month sojourn in Palermo. (more…)

Last Night in Palermo: Chicken on a Chain

April 30, 2014

Tags: arancina, palermo, bomba, fried, Danza delle Ombre, homeless, hot meal, food, delivery, rice balls, chicken on a chain

Chicken on a chain, photo by Irene Campagna
I went out on the Danza delle Ombre meals- on-wheels run for the homeless with Chiara and Irene Campagna this evening, for the last time.
You see the strangest things. Drunken Europunks sleeping on the cold hard sidewalk where they urinate, surrounded by a pack of large mongrel dogs, one of which just had seven puppies. Across the street was this forlorn, lonely roosting hen on a leash, tied to a garbage can, waiting for her homeless master to get back from whatever it was he was doing. Different kind of pet.
When we ran out of food to deliver, the sisters, who volunteer to deliver food every week, asked me what food I liked. Pizza, crostini, cannolicchi. Then they talked about their favorite arancine, which are fried rice balls containing, traditionally, either butter (more…)

Last Day in Palermo

April 30, 2014

Tags: palermo, Mondello, sferracavallo, grotta perciata, Pietra Tara, bronza age, village, megalithic, Monte Gallo, Capo gallo, garden, hisotic, scaglia, francesca Mercadante, Pippo LoCascio, patrimony, preserve, nature preserve, marine reserve, guardians, angels, beauty, history

Piergiorgio Leone at the Grotta Perciata, Mondello
And I spent the morning in Mondello and Sferracavallo, by the sea. In Sferracavallo to see a complete, intact, protohistoric Bronze Age megalithic village, and in Mondello on the slopes of Monte Gallo to visit a panoramic, historic garden planted in the early 1900's, with archeological treasures from 10,000 years ago. (more…)

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…)

fantastic facade in Via Celso, Palermo

April 27, 2014

Tags: facade, palermo, sicily, via celso, cortile sant'agata, imagination, decoration do it yourself


Loved this house. Found it in 2012 and went back this week to see it again. Behind the cathedral. Would love to meet the artist.

Meals on Wheels for the Homeless

April 24, 2014

Tags: meals, wheels, homeless, palermo, marina scardavi, mohammed, kindness, care, body, soul


Dr. Marina Scardavi founded a non-profit called Shadow Dance to aid the homeless in body and soul. She got to know Palermo's homeless people through her homeless friend, Mohammed, an Iranian immigrant who earned a degree in architecture at the University of Palermo, but who prefers to be a vagabond who cares for other street people. (more…)

Two Cute Girls

April 24, 2014

Tags: girls, palermo, cute

These two girls were waiting for the Dead Christ and Sorrowful Madonna to come out of the church on Good Friday. I thought they were extremely cute. They were not posing for me, but showing solidarity in the face of another, older girl, who was jealous of something they had, and who claimed, loudly and repeatedly, to have TEN of same.

Occupy Palermo: Homeless families organize

April 17, 2014

Tags: homeless, families, organize, assemblea, occupy, palermo

Our Housing Plan: OCCUPY EVERYTHING
OUR HOUSING PLAN: OCCUPY EVERYTHING!
This was a manifesto I found plastered to the front of the train station this morning, a place where the homeless, at least many of them, the single men, gather to accept food donations at night and sleep wrapped in blankets under the portico where they can stay out (more…)

Occupy

April 17, 2014

Tags: occupy, palermo, convent, homeless, families, delle vergini, cloister, squatters, home, children, eviction, sfratto

Antonella, her friend Cetty, and Cetty's newborn daughter, Nicole, in the Convento delle Vergini which they occupied.
From our kitchen balcony I can see the lights are on in the cloistered convent across Piazza Venezia. Since December 2013, the convent, empty for two years after the last three aged nuns living there were transfered, has been occupied by palermitan homeless families. I visited them two days ago. Ten families, 35 people, of whom 22 are children. (more…)

Home for Homeless Women

April 14, 2014

Tags: accoglienza femminile, fra biagio conte, suor mattia, homeless, women, mensa, dining room, via garibaldi, palermo, kindness, heart, sicily, sicilia, care, dignity

A corner of the 100-seat dining room of the Accoglienza Femminile of Fra Biagio Conte's Missione Pace e Speranza
Last week I visited the Women's Home, one of three centers comprising Brother Biagio Conte's Mission of Peace and Hope. It houses roughly a hundred homeless women, palermitans and immigrants, single women, women with young children and women with infants. It is housed inside the former convent of Saint Catherine of Sienna in Via (more…)

Mohammed makes my bouquet

April 12, 2014

Tags: vagabond, homeless, senza tetto, Mohammed, Mo, foro italico, seashore, camper, flowers, beach, wildflowers, bouquet, kindness, beauty, palermo, sicily, italy



I spent yesterday afternoon with Mohammed, a homeless Iranian architect, a vagabond by nature, a kind man who helps all the other homeless people less fortunate than he. He lives with three or four dogs, and visiting pigeons, cats, seagulls, lizards and human friends, in a camper by the sea, at the Foro Italico, (more…)

Marcello Lampone and part of the clock without hands

April 7, 2014

Tags: clock, no hands, marcello lampone, palermo, inventor, sicily, via Maqueda, Via del Bosco

This is just the bottom decorative part of a 6-foot-tall faceless clock he is making to install in the Provincial office building across the street, the palace where he was born.
Marcello Lampone has invented an electro-mechanical (non-digital) watch and/or clock with no minute- hand nor hour- hand. I cannot imagine how you can tell the time from it. He won't let me see it , or explain it, until it is patented. He is hoping for a sponsor to help him pay for the (more…)

Marcello Lampone and fly eye

April 7, 2014

Tags: fly eye, marcello lampone, inventor, palermo, sicily, Via Maqueda, Via del Bosco

Fly eyes, having fun.
I can only run one photo per blog post, so I am making lots of blog posts about this guy. He made my day.

Tonnara Florio at Palermo

April 6, 2014

Tags: tonnara, florio, palermo, arenella, palermo dei misteri, Professor carlo di franco, seaside, tuna, tannin, sumac, mirto, leather, industry, sicily, sicilians, italy, windy



Guided visit today to the ex- Florio tonnara in Arenella, Palermo, conducted by the president of the non-profit association, La Palermo Dei Misteri, anthropologist and professor Carlo Di Franco, a man who can make the stones talk.
The tonnara had been there for three centuries when the Florio family ( the Sicilian Rockefellers, originally from (more…)

La Martorana, Arab-Norman church. Pix by AmoPalermo

April 3, 2014

Tags: Martorana, church, mosaics, gold, Byzantine, arab- norman, palermo, sicily, italy

Martorana lapis and gold stars ceiling
http://www.amopalermo.com/2013/01/la-martorana-restaurata-alcune-immagini.html

Link to wonderful photos of the interior of my favorite church in downtown Palermo, la Martorana, a Norman-Arab beauty with gold and lapis mosaics by Byzantine masters and inscriptions in Arabic on column capitals. Thanks to AmoPalermo blog for these photos. The church was most recently restored in November 2012.

I liked this poster

April 2, 2014

Tags: poster, manifesto, vucciria, palermo

Palermo is plastered with posters. I liked this one especially.
I liked the look of this musician in the poster, one Timo Maas. It reminded me of my great brother-in-law in some ways.

le Vignicelle Former asylum

April 1, 2014

Tags: asylum, jesuits, manicomio, palermo, first



Jesuit priests built a fine monastery and had use of two qanats, underground water supplies built in the persian style, to water their fields and grapevines, and they made fine wine. With the unifiction of italy, in 1861, all religious property became state property, and the state decided to use this convent and surrounding grounds (more…)

Villa Garibaldi

March 29, 2014

Tags: cast iron, horse hoof, lion, lamp post, palermo, villa garibaldi, piazza marina


These are not tree trunks, but shoots or branches the banyan tree sends down to the ground that then root. This is not even one -third the diameter of the tree. This one happens to be the largest banyan tree on the European continent.
Filippo Basile, one of Palermo's finest architects, designed this small, square park in the Liberty style. (more…)

Walk in the park

March 29, 2014

Tags: cast iron, horse hoof, lion, lamp post, palermo, villa garibaldi, piazza marina

Crazy lamp post base in Villa Garibaldi
I just realized my last eight posts were all about food and places to get it. I've been on a diet, so I'm obsessed, I guess you could say. So today I took a walk in the park. A guided tour of the Villa Garibaldi. The cast iron fence that surrounds it and the (more…)

The restaurant with moral standards

March 28, 2014

Tags: Antica Focacceria San Francesco, palermo, protection money, pizzo, Fabio, Vincenzo Conticello

The overflow crowd at lunchtime, Antica Focacceria San Francesco
The food is so good and the prices so reasonable that the crowd spills out the door a full hour before traditional Sicilian lunchtime. Not so bad, though, because across the piazza is the fabulous medieval ( 1300s) Basilica di San Francesco. To see what they serve, go to www.afsf.it for mouth-watering photos (more…)

Sami

March 27, 2014

Tags: Sami, tunisia, palermo, sicily, bangla sonar, fast food, gorgeous

Look. I mean, really. This is Sami, from Tunisia.
I left thinking, now I know where the good-looking Sicilians get their good looks from.

Bangla Sonar, Via Maqueda 258, Palermo, Italy

March 27, 2014

Tags: bangla sonar, indian, ethnic, fast food, palermo, via maqueda, tunisino, tunisian, bangladesh, food, muslim, moslem

Two guys from Tunisia and Bangladesh serve bi-national fast food.
The largest foreign population of Palermo are the people from Bangladesh. Every time I walk home from the Teatro Massimo neighborhood, down Via Maqueda to the corner of Via Napoli, I pass this one fast food place, Bangla Sonar, that emits the most delicious aromas of spices unknown to me. It's a clean, well-lit (more…)

Incoronation balcony

March 17, 2014

Tags: palermo, sicily

The balcony where newly-crowned Norman kings of Sicily once greeted the public.
Norman kings were crowned in the cathedral but came out to exhibit themselves on this stone terrace behind the cathedral in Via Incoronazione.

Spires

March 15, 2014

Tags: spires, cathedral archbishop, palace, curia, palermo

Spires of the Palermo cathedral and the archbishop's palace.
A sunny Saturday.

Pizzo

March 13, 2014

Tags: pizzo, racket, protection money, mafia, addio pizzo, palermo


Pizzo is the Sicilian word for protection money, which most businesses in Palermo still pay monthly to the mob. (more…)

The favorite coffee pot

March 12, 2014

Tags: coffee, caffe`, palermo, casa, caffetiere

The favorite coffeepot.
This seems to be the favorite coffeepot of the house, despite the fact that its handle fell off, or melted off, and the plastic knob on the lid has melted into a sorry blob. Once a coffee pot is seasoned, no one wants to get rid of it. It takes a long time to break in a new one. (more…)

The morning view

March 12, 2014

Tags: view, panorama, palermo, morning

Morning view from Via Teatro Biondo looking toward Via Vittorio Emanuele.
Sunny this morning. First day without clouds on the mountain all March. This is our view from the kitchen balcony. Palermo is ringed by mountains except for the part bathed by the sea.

The Breast of Ballaro`

March 10, 2014

Tags: ballaro, church, dome, palermo, sicily

Beautiful majolica-covered church dome in Ballaro`
Prof. Carlo Di Franco, an anthropologist, author and president of the non-profit cultural association Palermo Dei Misteri, has been walking me around the four quarters of Palermo. Most recent trip was to Ballaro`, where he pointed out this beautiful, majolica tile-covered church cupola known locally and affectionately as the Breast of Ballaro`, although he named it in Sicilian.

crumbling inner city

March 9, 2014

Tags: palermo, abandoned, buildings, fall, crumble, pity, dangerous

This old abandoned palace in the Vucciria market crumbled shortly after I got here.
Two historic palazzi have crumbled from neglect in Palermo's city center since I got here early February, and more are ready to fall. I walked around the centro with a group wearing hardhats to raise consciousness about the frailty of these once stunning medieval, abandoned buildings.

I see dead people

March 7, 2014

Tags: catacombe, cappuccini, dead, palermo

capuchin catacombs
Some of my favorite mummies.

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