You can buy a home in this scenic town in Sicily, Italy for $1—but there’s a catch

Mussomeli in Sicily, Italy sits on a steep hillside, has narrow streets and is known for its medieval castle and old churches. As part of a not-for-profit project, there are about 100 homes for sale there for 1 euro each, as long as you’re willing to renovate.

Source: You can buy a home in this scenic town in Sicily, Italy for $1—but there’s a catch

Not Just a Pretty Facade, Palermo’s Opera Is an Anti-Mafia Symbol

Palermo’s Teatro Massimo is the biggest opera house in Italy and a symbol of the mafia’s disgrace in Sicily. It also starred in “The Godfather: Part III.”

Yes, Milan’s La Scala may have more seats, and La Fenice in la Venezia is more venerable by a century, but Palermo’s Teatro Massimo is easily the biggest in Italy, a sprawling, 83,000-square-foot, neo-romantic edifice that dominates the Sicilian capital’s antique skyline. In Europe, only L’Opéra in Paris and the State Opera in Vienna are bigger.

Source: Not Just a Pretty Facade, Palermo’s Opera Is an Anti-Mafia Symbol

It’s got ancient Greek ruins, spicy food and an active volcano. It’s extreme Italy.

While part of Italy, Sicily really is a world apart. Midway between Africa and Europe in the middle of the Mediterranean, over the last 2,500 years it’s been ruled by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and Spaniards. Its complicated past makes it distinct — with spicier food, a more festive lifestyle, and people who are Sicilian first, Italian second. Italian Americans have a special bond with the island — almost one-third of all Italians who arrived in the U.S. between 1880 and 1930 were from Sicily..

Source: It’s got ancient Greek ruins, spicy food and an active volcano. It’s extreme Italy.

50 years since Sicily’s earthquake, an urban disaster of a different kind

“The truth is that we were victims of an urban experiment imposed on us from the top,” says the current mayor, Lorenzo Pagliaroli. “But cities cannot be rebuilt in a few years. The old Poggioreale was founded in 1642 and it took 300 years to model it, according to the habits of its people.

Source: 50 years since Sicily’s earthquake, an urban disaster of a different kind | Cities | The Guardian

Rosa Barba: The Color Out of Space

Rosa Barba’s works encompassing sculptures, installations, text pieces, and publications are grounded in the material qualities of cinema. Her film sculptures examine the physical properties of the projector, celluloid, and projected light. Barba’s longer projected works are situated between experimental documentary and fictional narrative, and are indeterminately situated in the past or the future. These speculative stories probe into the relationship of historical record, personal anecdote, and filmic representation. For this first survey of her work in North America, Barba premieres The Color Out of Space (2015), a new film incorporating images of stars and planets collected over the last year at Hirsch Observatory at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The work expands upon Barba’s ongoing interrogation of geological time as measured against the span of a human lifetime. The exhibition includes works made over the last ten years including two of Barba’s cinematic large projections, which focus on natural landscapes and man-made interventions into the environment, as well as a group of small projector sculptures and wall works.

Rosa Barba (b. 1972, Sicily, Italy) lives and works in Berlin. Barba studied at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Solo exhibitions include Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; Bergen Kunsthall, Norway; Jeu de Paume, Paris; and Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany among others. She was a resident artist at Artpace, San Antonio in 2014 and at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa in 2013.

Until January 3, 2016 at the List Visual Arts Center, MIT, Boston

 Rosa Barba: The Color Out of Space is curated by Henriette Huldisch, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center.


The List Visual Arts Center, MIT’s contemporary art museum, collects, commissions, and presents rigorous, provocative, and artist-centric projects that engage MIT and the global art community.

Director Frank Capra Honored with U.S. Postal Stamp

Sicilian-born filmmaker’s movies focused on patriotism and hope

A stamp to honor film director Frank Capra, best known for the perennial favorite It’s a Wonderful Life  starring James Stewart, has been issued by the Postal Service. Capra is one of four famous filmmakers to be awarded their own stamps. The others are John Ford, John Huston and Billy Wilder. The stamps will feature images from their most famous movies.
“With these stamps, we’re bringing these filmmakers out from behind their cameras and putting them in the spotlight so that we can learn more about them,” said Samuel Pulcrano, U.S. Postal Service vice president of corporate communications.

Frank Capra

Capra’s movies, which along with It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) also include  It Happened One Night  (1934),  You Can’t Take it With You (1938), and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), reflect an America ready for social change but still strongly attached to traditional family and class values.

One common theme running through his films is the presence of patriotism and hope, which Capra sees as an antidote to a hard life. “I see a small farm boy becoming a great soldier; I see thousands of marching men…And I can see the beginnings of a new nation like Abraham Lincoln said. And I can see that Ohio boy being inaugurated as president. Things like that can only happen in a country like America,” says the hero of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936).

Born Francesco Rosario Capra in 1897 in Bisacquino, near Palermo, Sicily, he was six years old when he emigrated with his family to the United States. He once recounted the ship’s arrival into New York, where he saw “a statue of a great lady, taller than a church steeple, holding a torch above the land we were about to enter.”

His father said to him, according to a 1992 biography of Capra, “Ciccio, look! Look at that. That’s the greatest light since the star of Bethlehem! That’s the light of freedom. Remember that. Freedom.”

Capra’s family moved to an Italian section of Los Angeles, where the young Capra sold newspapers to help support his family. He worked odd jobs and played the banjo to pay his way through college, eventually earning a chemical engineering degree from California Institute of Technology.

He enlisted in the Army during World War I and after the war went into the entertainment business, starting out in comedy and eventually turning to film-making in the early 1930s.
At the height of his career, Capra again enlisted in the Army during World War II and directed war films for the government. He earned an Academy Award for one and a Distinguished Service Medal.

Capra’s films earned many Academy Awards but It Happened One Night, a comedy starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable that captured the country’s need to escape the realities of the Depression, became the first movie to win all five top Oscars including Best Picture.

Capra was also active in the film industry, working with the Screenwriters Guild and serving as president of the Academy of Motion Pictures.

Capra died of a heart attack in California in 1991 at age 94. His son Frank Capra was also in the film business until his death in 2007. A grandson Frank Capra III is a Hollywood director whose work includes the 1995 film The American President.

Capra’s films are considered timeless fables that glorify the average individual, decry materialism and offer optimism for the future.

Reprinted from Voce Italiana, Aug-Sept, 2012