icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Heart of Palermo

Mafia gets its hooks in.

From "The Guardian":

As Italy struggles to pull its economy through the coronavirus crisis, the Mafia is gaining local support by distributing free food to poor families in quarantine who have run out of cash, authorities have warned.

In recent weeks, videos have surfaced of known Mafia gangs delivering essential goods to Italians hit hard by the coronavirus emergency across the poorest southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia, as tensions are rising across the country.

"For over a month, shops, cafés, restaurants, and pubs have been closed", Nicola Gratteri, antimafia investigator and head of the prosecutor's office in Catanzaro, told the Guardian. "Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven't received any income in more than a month and have no idea when they might return to work. The government is issuing so-called shopping vouchers to support people. If the state doesn't step in soon to help these families, the mafia will provide its services, imposing their control over people's lives."...


From the first signals of mounting social unrest, the Italian minister of the interior, , said ''the mafia could take advantage of the rising poverty, swooping in to recruit people to its organisation''. Or simply stepping in to distribute free food parcels of pasta, water, flour and milk. Read More 

Be the first to comment

Italian mayors losing it over lockdown scoffers

Be the first to comment

Palermo prays to St Rosalia to save it from coronavirus plague

from today's The Guardian.....

Legend has it that in 1625, as a plague swept Palermo and killed dozens of people each day, Saint Rosalia appeared before a man.

Rosalia, a young Sicilian hermit who died 500 years earlier, told him that if the people of Palermo walked in procession while carrying her relics, to be found in a grotto on Monte Pellegrino, then the "evil fever" would disappear.

After months of debate over the authenticity of that apparition, Saint Rosalia's remains – among them a piece of her jaw and three fingers – were paraded through the city at an event attended by thousands of devotees. When the plague began to ebb, she was proclaimed the holy protector of the city.

Four hundred years later, the prayers that Palermitans offer to Saint Rosalia travel in chain messages on WhatsApp. They are asking her for another miracle: free the city of coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in Italy.


... and then I found this video on the Facebook group, Palermo di una volta. Someone plays a song really loud and all the neighbors, confined to their homes in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Palermo, come out to their balconies and sing along and dance. MARVELOUS!!! Here is the link:


Be the first to comment

Gioacchino and the moon fish

Be the first to comment

Mattanza published 20 years ago this March

Clemente Ventrone al timone. Clemente at the helm of his own boat, taking a group of us friends to Previto for a picnic.

Twenty years ago my first book came out. I have just scanned some vintage slides and negs and will be sharing them here. Just for fun.

Post a comment

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' 

Be the first to comment

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.

Be the first to comment

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.

Be the first to comment

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.
Be the first to comment

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.

Be the first to comment