near palermo

On 23 May 1992 the judge and magistrate Giovanni Falcone was killed in an blast together with his wife and the three policemen who protected him: the explosives had been placed under the motorway between Palermo International Airport and Palermo, near Capaci. This passed into the annal of Italian history as “La strage di Capaci” (“The massacre of Capaci”). 

Giovanni Falcone was killed because he was trying to overthrow the power of Mafia in Sicily.

His colleague and close friend, Paolo Borsellino, knew that he would have been the next target but with unceasing efforts he tried to go on with his work of Antimafia judge and magistrate. On 19 July 1992, only 57 days after Falcone was assassinated, Paolo Borsellino and five policemen were killed by a bomb in Via D'Amelio in Palermo where his Mother lived.

25 years later Italy remembers these two heroes, two of the many who fought and still fight against Mafia: we remember them and what they had left us as legacy even to remind the World that, yes Italy is the country of Mafia but it’s also the country that fights against Mafia and where there are people who are ready to die to give the new generations the hope that, to quote Fabrizio Moro’s song “Pensa”, “Justice is not only an illusion”.

Today the World prays for the victims and the injured Manchester and for the people of Marawi, Bangkok and Syria. Staying strong and not giving up to fear, rage, racism and intolerance seems to be the only thing we can do in this mad World.

“It’s normal that there be fear, in every man, the important thing is that it be accompanied by courage.” — Paolo Borsellino

May 23, 1992, 17.58

(Photo source: Ansa)

“Guardi, io ricordo ciò che mi disse Ninni Cassarà allorché ci stavamo recando assieme sul luogo dove era stato ucciso il dottor Montana alla fine del luglio del 1985, credo. Mi disse: ’Convinciamoci che siamo dei cadaveri che camminano’” (Paolo Borsellino, interview with Lamberto Sposini, June 24, 1992)

“Look, I remember what Ninni Cassarà told me while we were going together to the place where Dr. Montana was killed at the end of July 1985, I believe. He said: ‘Let’s convince ourselves that we are walking cadavers.’”


25 years ago today, Italian judge Giovanni Falcone was murdered by the mafia on the highway near Palermo. Just two months later, Falcone’s friend and fellow judge Paolo Borsellino was murdered outside his mother’s apartment complex. Together they led Italy’s most important trial (the “maxiprocesso”) against the mafia, leading to the conviction of 360 mafiosi, including the mafia’s most prominent leaders.

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Spesso quando si parla di pasta, si ricorda sempre come Marco Polo di ritorno dalla Cina introdusse in Italia gli spaghetti. Bene, se qualche “esperto” di cibo vi ricorda questa storia, ringraziatelo e lasciatelo perdere. Nel 1154 Riggero II diede incarico all’ arabo Al-Idrisi di descrivere in un libro tutte le terre conosciute o meno. Al-Idrisi, descrisse un piccolo paese vicino a Palermo in cui veniva prodotta pasta  fliliforme che era spedita nelle calabrie e in nord africa dove i berberi la consumavano con molto piacere. Questo era descritto cento anni prima che Marco Polo nascesse, ed è la testimonianza di una produzione pastaria nata con i latini, perfezionata con gli Arabi e sviluppata dai Normanni. Ne è anche prova i formati particolari di pasta esistenti solo in Sicilia ed il cui consumo è legato a feste religiose o usanze locali. Gli anellini di Palermo, la spaccatella di Messina, la catenesella di Catania la Scialbò di Enna e i sempre ricercati Maccaruni fatto con il filo di ferro,sono tutte paste legate alla cultura siciliana ed alla sua storia.

Often when it comes to pasta, somebody always remembers like Marco Polo returning from China introduced in Italy spaghetti. Well, if some “ food expert “ reminds you this story, thank him and let him lose. In 1154 Riggero II gave assignment to the arab Al-Idrisi to describe in a book all the known lands of the known world. Al-Idrisi, described a small town near Palermo where it was produced spaghetti pasta that was sent in Calabria and in North Africa where Berber ate it with great pleasure. This was described  one hundred years before Marco Polo was born, and it is the testimony of a Pasta Industry production born with Latin, concluded with the Arabs and developed by the Normans. It is also testing the particular sizes of existing pulp only in Sicily and the consumption of which is linked to religious holidays or local customs. The Anellini (little rings) of Palermo, the Spaccatella of Messina, the Catenesella in Catania the Scialbò of Enna and the ever sought Maccaruni done with the wire,  are all linked to the Sicilian culture and its history.

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Chiesa Del Gesu, or The Church of the Saint Mary of Gesu in Palermo, Sicily. This was definitely my favorite church of all the ones I visited near Palermo. The color palette on the ceiling was much more modern than the others. It was breathtaking. (by jaclynsovern

The Mouth of Truth

Somewhere near the center of Palermo, in Sicily, there is an old amusement park.

Should you wander around, just aside a shooting gallery you’d find an old funny-looking statue of a grotesque face. Don’t try to get close to it yet. As soon as you’re about to touch it, no matter how hard you try, you’ll change your mind. Get to the shooting gallery and pay the clerk for three games - it will cost you the equivalent of $10 in total. It doesn’t matter how much you score, as soon as you finish the second game keep the gun and don’t shoot again. The clerk will ask you for his gun back, but you must ask to try the Mouth of Truth instead.

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