Theresa Maggio

Selected Works

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.


Out of Palermo

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…)

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…)

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…)

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 for mouth-watering photos (more…)


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…)

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