The history books about Sicily have little to say about the time of the Spanish rule. I find this strange, because the Spanish changed Sicily more than any other conqueror. The way they wanted this island is the way it still is: the Sicilians just cannot seem to shake them off. Some history books … More A Time to Die – the Spanish Inquisition in Sicily
“Veronica Di Grigoli’s book The Dangerously truthful diary of a Sicilian Housewife takes us on her own personal odyssey, navigating through many monstrosities, perils and everyday adventures along the way. The diary is filled with biting wit, an astute knack for observation and a powerful sense of determination which makes it a joy … More Comedy novel ‘The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife’ gets rave reviews
This is a tribute to the first Sicilian who stood up, shouted against the Mafia, and dared to make them objects of ridicule instead of fearful reverence. ***** 9 May is a day most Sicilians remember. On 9 May 1978 Peppino Impastato, a political activist who opposed the Mafia, was brutally killed. He was my age. … More 9 May – Ode to Peppino Impastato
Here’s a photo of a road in Sicily which collapsed just ten days after it was built. It’s near Mezzojuso, 25 miles from Palermo. It cost more than Euros 200 million – at least, that’s what the taxpayer forked out for it. The actual materials and work, no doubt, cost far less. I don’t know if … More Schools and Bridges Collapsing in Sicily: Thanks Mafia!
Delicious juicy oranges and succulent lemons are one of the first things that spring to mind when most people think of Sicily. The other, unfortunately, is the Mafia, but few outsiders realise how closely they are connected. Citrus fruit trees were brought to Sicily by the Muslim invaders from North Africa in the 11th century … More Sour, Corrupt and dominated by the Mafia: The Citrus Industry in Sicily
Sicily’s Anti-Extortion spokesman is Arrested while Extorting 100k Euros In one of the most delicious news items ever reported since I’ve been living in Sicily, it turns out that one of the main men in charge of combating extortion in Sicily has just been arrested… for extortion. It was “Aggravated extortion,” in fact, which means … More A Scandalous Story about the Mafia, Extortion and Cake
“Mummy, why are the baddies English?” my son asked me last week. He was watching “Rio”, a cartoon film about parrots in which the bad parrot, from the Brazilian jungle, inexplicably talks with a very posh English accent. “Well, it’s just one silly cartoon,” I reassured him. Then he listed all the English baddies he … More So you’re Sicilian. Are you in the Mafia?
They arrested 31 mafiosi in my little town yesterday, and two of them were neighbours of mine. The newspapers are saying that this has practically demolished the Mafia in this town. Personally I am not so sure. Fighting the Mafia is like trying to eliminate cockroaches. You can stamp on a couple but there are … More 31 Mafiosi Arrested in my Town Yesterday
This event happened when he was six years old, and he lived to tell the tale, obviously. The story startled me, though, as he was so blasé about the whole thing that he only got around to telling me about it last month, after eight years of marriage. He had been hanging about by the … More My husband was nearly shot by the Mafia
In Sicily, if you open your mouth and say something about the Mafia, if you just pronounce the word Mafia in public, the reaction will be sharp intakes of breath all around you and horrified silence. It is a social gaffe even more hideous than meeting your new mother-in-law with your flies undone whilst going … More Padre Puglisi has been Beatified. Can we PLEASE talk about the Mafia now?
My town has 56,339 inhabitants. This morning, when I opened the window, it smelt as if every single one of them had just farted. The noxious gases billowed in and tinged the kitchen air a mustardy pea green. The whiff was coming from the local sewage works, whose manager feels that complying with health and … More Can you smell that pong of broken glass? A really rubbishy blog post
Africans are so often portrayed as the underdogs, nowadays, that we sometimes forget they conquered southern Europe twice and ruled it for centuries. The Sicilians don’t forget, though, for the Africans invented pasta as we know it, shaped their language and gave them the word Mafia, and brought them their citrus fruit trees, taught them … More What have the Africans done for Sicily?
They arrested 21 Mafiosi in my little backwater of a town last week. All of them had been very high profile players in international organised crime. Along with the 21 arrests, the police also recovered 30 million Euros in cash, buildings, businesses, supermarkets, and other varied loot. The men had been engaged in drug trafficking, … More 21 Mafia arrests and 2 Mafia murders in my town last week