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Out of Palermo

Sambuca di Sicilia sells homes for one euro

My cousin, Nella Cartafalsa, whom I wrote about in The Stone Boudoir, got married to a farmer from Sambuca and moved there. I have visited them in Sambuca. Lots of Maggios in Sambuca. Its name comes from the Arabic word Zabut, the Magnificent. North Africans settled there, close to S. Margherita Belice, in the eighth century.

From The Guardian:

 
Sat 26 Jan 2019 14.00 GMT
 
Darkness falls on the small town of Sambuca di Sicilia, where the council offices on Corso Umberto have been closed for more than three hours. And yet the phones keep ringing, hour after hour.

"They're calling from Sydney, London, New York," says the exhausted deputy mayor, Giuseppe Cacioppo. A week after the town announced it was putting up abandoned homes for sale at a euro each, he has fielded requests for information from all over the globe. By Wednesday last week the council had received more than 300 calls and 94,000 emails. Many prospective buyers, not wanting to miss out, grabbed the first available flight to Palermo.


Sambuca sits inside a nature reserve, surrounded by woods and mountains, about an hour's drive from the Sicilian capital.

In the town hall's minuscule waiting room there are not enough seats for the dozens of visitors who have come from as far away as Panama, London, Boston and Dubai to get their hands on one of these famed homes for the cost of an espresso. They're waiting anxiously for Cacioppo to take them on a guided tour of the ruins that are up for sale.

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Trump in Italian pop art

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Court rules Salvini stand trial for kidnapping migrants

From the Guardian:

Italy's deputy prime minister and interior minister, Matteo Salvini, is one step away from facing trial after a surprise court ruling today determined that he be tried for kidnapping.

In August, prosecutors in Agrigento, Sicily, placed Salvini, who is leader of the far-right party the League, under investigation for the alleged kidnapping and detention of 177 migrants whom he prevented from disembarking the Italian coastguard ship Ubaldo Diciotti.

The ship had been docked for six days at the Sicilian port of Catania as Salvini maintained a standoff with the EU in an attempt to push other member states to take in the migrants. The Catholic church, Ireland and Albania, which is not an EU state, eventually agreed to host the mostly Eritrean migrants.

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Palermo Mayor Rebels vs Salvini Migrant Law

A group of Italian mayors has rebelled against Matteo Salvini, the country's hardline interior minister, by refusing to implement stringent new laws on the treatment of asylum seekers.

The mayors of Palermo, Naples, Florence and Parma said that a controversial security law, passed by the populist coalition in November, violates the basic rights of migrants and refugees.

The law prevents migrants from seeking residency permits while they are waiting for their asylum applications to be considered, meaning that they cannot access services such as health care, housing and schools for their children.

The mayors are threatening to block the implementation of the law in their cities, in a major challenge to the populist coalition, which came to power in June.

The clash comes after Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, called for an end to the rancour prevalent in Italian politics and warned against the dangers of whipping up xenophobia, in a New Year's Eve address that was watched on television by 10 million Italians.

Leoluca Orlando, the centre-Left mayor of Palermo, said the security decree was "inhumane".

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One bluefin tuna: $3.1 million

From The Washington Post:


By Simon Denyer and
Akiko Kashiwagi
January 5 at 4:00 AM
TOKYO – A bluefin tuna sold for a record $3.1 million at the first auction of the year at Tokyo's new fish market on Saturday, but behind the celebrations hides a worrying tale of overfishing and dwindling stocks.

Kiyoshi Kimura, who owns the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain, paid 333.6 million yen for the 613-lb (278-kg) fish at the first auction of the year, and the first to be held at Tokyo's new Toyosu fish market after last year's the move from the famous Tsukiji market.

The price at the predawn auction was nearly 10 times higher than the price paid at last year's auction — albeit for a considerably smaller fish — and roughly double the previous record, also set by Kimura, in 2013. There was an intense bidding war with a rival buyer who had won last year.

The winner said he was "very satisfied with the quality" of the fish, but admitted he had paid much more than he had expected.

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