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Heart of Palermo

Floating sleepers

From The Guardian:
Elizabeth Heyert's intimate images of people sleeping were projected on to huge stone walls in a deserted town in Sicily and rephotographed. The result is an extraordinary series with the power of ancient sculpture
Elizabeth Heyert photographed people sleeping, then projected them onto the stone walls of Poggioreale, the town next to Santa Margherita Belice, my ancestral town, and re-photographed them, making the stone part of the picture. Poggioreale had been destroyed and abandoned in the winter earthquake of 1968.


 Poggioreale was a ghost town – notebooks still open in schoolrooms, pots on stoves, shoes, rusted cars in garages, and 'endless beautiful walls'. 'After 20 minutes of walking through it, I sat down and cried' 

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Italian racists fooled by movie trailer

From The Guardian newspaper:

A record-breaking satirical comedy about migrants attempting to reach Europe has provoked a row in Italy, infuriating far-right politicians and their supporters.

Tolo Tolo, starring and directed by the comedian Luca Medici, AKA Checco Zalone, 42, took in €8.7m (£7.4m) on 1 January, the best opening day of all time in Italian cinema.

The movie features a debt-ridden Italian businessman, played by Zalone, who leaves Italy to take refuge in Kenya. The outbreak of civil war forces him to pack his bags and return to Italy with some of his new African friends aboard a migrant vessel.

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Sneak peek inside second floor of Butera Palace

A few years ago I lived for three months on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele in Palazzo Vannucci, just a couple blocks from the sea and Palazzo Butera, which faces the Mediterranean Sea. At the time, it was still owned and occupied by 20th-century author Giuseppe Lampedusa's adopted son, Gioacchino. In 2016 he sold the family palace to wealthy art collectors Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi. The new owners will turn it into a museum. The second floor is undergoing restoration, but for a short time will be open to a curious public. La Repubblica has an exclusive first view for its readers. The space will be open for guided tours this Sunday from 10 to 2.

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Papa and Chollie Reina Dance

Giuseppe Maggio, my paternal grandfather, known to all as Papa, left, dancing with his best friend, Charles Reina, who was also best man at his wedding. Both immigrated from Santa Margherita Belice (AG), one town over from Corleone. They are having a ball in Papa's back yard at 515 10th Street, Carlstadt, NJ. I am guessing sometime late 1940s since my father took this picture. Papa liked to clown around. He had a twinkle in his blue eyes and always had a dime or a quarter under the tablecloth for his grandkids.
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Archive of blood: Photographer Letizia Battaglia

From The Guardian.....

In one room, assistants are hanging a selection of her early work, originally published in Palermo's left-wing newspaper, L'Ora. One striking photograph shows several mafiosa sitting in a row in a courtroom. The youngest is staring arrogantly at her camera, his finger pointed towards his mouth. "He is saying to me, 'I will blow your brains out,'" says Battaglia, who lived with regular death threats for two decades.

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secret bunkers and mountain hidehouts

From The Guardian...

by Lorenzo Tondo in Vibo Valentia, Calabria

On the slopes of the Aspromonte mountains, Pasquale Marando, a man known as the Pablo Escobar of the Calabrian mafia, the feared 'Ndrangheta, built a secret bunker whose entrance was the mouth of a pizza oven.

Less than 10 miles away, Ernesto Fazzalari, who allegedly enjoyed trap shooting with the heads of his decapitated victims, lived in a 10 square-metre hideout in the formidable southern Italian range. When authorities came for him in 2004, Fazzalari, then the second most-wanted mafia boss after Matteo Messina Denaro of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, had already escaped through a secret tunnel under the kitchen sink.

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People who escaped Libya show their scars

Now they are on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa after a rescue at sea 30 miles off the coast.



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Defying the Cosa Nostra

From The Guardian:

The view from the terrace is breathtaking. On the left, the ancient Greek ruins of Solunto; on the right, the splendid Arab-Norman city of Cefalù. In the centre, a crystalline sea as blue as the sky.

For twenty years, Sicily's most powerful mafia bosses plotted the murders of countless policemen and politicians from this spot, part of a 400 sq metre villa in the coastal resort town of Casteldaccia, known as the Miami of Sicilian mobsters, a few kilometres from Palermo.

But the godfathers are now gone and in their place is Gianluca Calì, an anti-mafia businessman who is about to turn their former stronghold into a holiday house.

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13 caskets arrive at Empedocle port

When rescuers came to aid of an immigrant vessel, all the immigrants ran to one side of the boat. The vessel overturned. Thirteen women were drowned. Women, and their chilren, who have less money to pay human traffickers, are often locked into rooms below decks ,where they suffer from diesel fumes and go down with the ship, and their children. An unknown number of children are missing at sea and presumed dead after this accident.

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Funeral for 13 immigrant women at Lampedusa

From La Repubblica:

"Ogni volta che trasformiamo il mare in muro qualcuno muore. Siamo tutti responsabili", esclama don Carmelo La Magra, dando l'ultimo saluto alle 13 vittime del naufragio del 7 ottobre."

"Every time we turn the sea into a wall somebody dies. We are all responsible," exclaims Father Carmelo La Magra, giving the final goodbye to the 13 victims of the shipwreck of October 7.

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