July 19, 2010 marked the 18th anniversary of Judge Paolo Borsellino’s tragic and violent death in Palermo. Borsellino was Judge Giovane Falcone’s partner in exposing, prosecuting, and eventually convicting 360 of the 474 accused members of Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mob, in 1992 (Harris). The trial, referred to as the Maxi Trial due to the unprecedented number of Mafiosi being tried, was conducted from 1986-1987 in Palermo and the very public and judiciary assault on organized crime was unlike anything Sicily or Italy had ever seen. Of course, given the public spectacle and previously unimaginable crackdown on Cosa Nostra that included the exposure of the mafia’s long-kept secrets of methodology, organizational structure, and sources of power, Falcone and Borsellino were made immediate, if well-protected, targets for mafia assassination. Cosa Nostra succeeded in their assassination attempts on Falcone on his way from the Palermo airport to the center of the city on May 23, 1992 and on Borsellino as he was leaving his mother’s apartment in Palermo on July 19, 1992. Both men and their many police escorts were “literally blown to pieces” in brutal car bombings that shook Palermo and introduced the world to Sicily’s “season of slaughter” (Willey). [A video showing the aftermath of the Borsellino bombing is attached at the bottom of this post, as I believe it portrays the level of destruction caused by Cosa Nostra. ] Continue Reading »


Sicilia Da Sola: Day 9

Derek, Sam and I met at 9:30AM to take our little Fiat to Agrigento for the day.

Sam is fascinated by Greece like I am with Sicily, so I told him he could not miss the Valley of the Temples. Anticipating a few translation opportunities/emergencies, I happily went along. Continue Reading »

Sicilia Da Sola: Day 8

Taormina is a resort town, primarily, with the added (Italian) benefit of having evidence of a rich history. It’s a really beautiful place: the panoramic views from Piazza Aprile IX of the Bay of Naxos and smoking Mt. Etna are truly breathtaking and inspiring. The best view in Taormina, and definitely one of the most impressive on the island, is of the same vista from the Teatro Greco. Continue Reading »

Sicilia Da Sola: Day 7

I woke up early to enjoy breakfast overlooking a clear sky and the Bay of Naxos. The sight is what I imagined when I decided to come to Taormina and I was happy to be living my vision. Continue Reading »

Sicilia Da Sola: Day 6

I took the bus from Palermo to Taormina late on Wednesday afternoon in order to get to the east coast in time for dinner. Actually, I took the 107 local Palermo bus to the SAIS Palermo-Catania bus, to the Interbus Catania-Taormina shuttle. The trip wasn’t too long, it wasn’t complicated, and it wasn’t expensive. All in all, it cost me 20 Euros to get across the island. Continue Reading »

Sicilia Da Sola: Day 5

I spent my last full day in Palermo at Monreale, documenting the state of each pair of columns in the Cloister. I have more photos of columns than I could ever want, I think, and have a lot to report at a slightly later date. In any case, I had a fantastic day at Monreale: mosaics, a lunch of orange, almond cookies and espresso, and a thunderstorm in the Cloister. Continue Reading »

Sicilia Da Sola: Day 4

Today, I wore a dress. What doors open when you show a little leg! Continue Reading »