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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

My favorite bookstore

August 18, 2014

Tags: Pietro Tramonte, books, Palermo, street, seller

Stacks in an alley near the post office.
So many stories in this little alley in a street parallel to Via Roma near the post office, and not all of them were in books. I got sucked into this vicolo by the books and I stayed for the bookseller, Pietro Tramonte. More on him tomorrow.

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.

Pietro Tramonte's street bookstore

March 18, 2014

Tags: Pietro Tramonte, books, Palermo, street, seller

The books are in no particular order. Great for browsing. He also sells old postcards, magazines, and maps
Pietro Tramonte, whose family is from Gibellina, runs a bookstore in an alley in a street parallel to Via Roma. The books go from floor to ceiling and now spill out into the alley in these shelves he covers with tarps at night to protect from weather and thieves. He is also a poet. (more…)

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