Castelbuono: A Little Bit of Paradise

Castelbuono: A Little Bit of Paradise

Since the 1980s Sicily has devoted increasing political energy and financial resources to preserving the natural habitat of the island and to controlling real estate and industrial development in many areas. The island has a rich soil and provides a climate that supports a wide variety of plants and animals, many of which contribute to […]

Sicily: Inspiration for an Artist

Sicily:  Inspiration for an Artist

  For a long time German artists have been attracted to Sicily. During the 19th century Otto Geleng, a red-haired painter from Berlin, and Wilhelm von Gloeden, a handsome baron and photographer from Wismar, came to Taormina and stayed until their deaths in the 20th century. German composer Richard Wagner came to Palermo in 1881 […]

Ragusa Ibla and the Big Quake

Ragusa Ibla and the Big Quake

Spanish control of Sicily began to crumble during the 17th century. With about only 4,000 troops to control the island Spain was not able to squash riots in Palermo and Messina, riots over a lack of bread, unfair taxes and laws against using flour to make sweet pastries. Sicily without pastries. No wonder there were […]

Dancing Sicilians, Dancing Satyrs

Dancing Sicilians, Dancing Satyrs

The ballroom scene in Luchino Visconti’s 1963 film version of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) is a very grand piece of cinema. It is extravagantly costumed in yards and yards of silk and satin and velvet with a sparkling splash of jewels. Nino Rota’s waltzes whirl around the ballroom showing off […]

Walls Talk – Peeling Paint and Poverty

Walls Talk – Peeling Paint and Poverty

I have walked down the streets of Palermo’s poor neighborhoods. Catania’s poor neighborhoods too. Garbage on the sidewalks and streets. Broken bottles. Discarded rags and tired, worn out underwear and jeans. Trampled plastic cups and more bottles. Plastic bags of rotting food. Buildings on both sides of these narrow streets are coming down. Plaster walls […]