900-800BC Sican and Siculian farmers settled the
valleys of central Sicily.
(WSJ, 6/9/99, p.A24)
729BCE Greek colonists settled in Catania, Sicily.
(SFC, 6/2/03, p.A11)
c600BC The Greeks established city-states along
the southern coast of Italy and the island of Sicily. They
contributed letters to the Roman alphabet, religious concepts and
artistic talent as well as mythology.
c525BC Acroliths, or partial statues, of Olympian
deities were later found in Morgantina in central Sicily that were
made by Greeks and dated to this time.
(SFC, 4/4/98, p.A13)
c450BC The golden plate known as the “Phiale
Mesomphalos" was made. In 1998 it was valued at $1.2 million and
held by US Customs.
(WSJ, 10/8/98, p.W14)
211BC Roman legions overran the
Greek settlement of Morgantina.
(SFC, 4/4/98, p.A13)
104BC Rome faced a slave
retaliation in Sicily.
73BC Rome faced a 2nd slave
uprising in Sicily.
0AD Central Sicily was thick
with native forests that were cut down by the Romans in order to
grow wheat on large estates.
(WSJ, 6/9/99, p.A24)
c200-400AD The Roman Villa del Casale dated to
this time. It was decorated with over 4,200 sq. yards of floor
mosaics and was later placed on the UNESCO world heritage list.
(WSJ, 6/9/99, p.A24)
902 Aug 1, The Aghlabid rulers
of Ifriqiyah (modern day Tunisia) captured Taormina, Sicily.
1000-1100 Sicily was in the possession of the
Fatimid caliph of Cairo.
(Econ, 12/20/03, p.68)
1072 Jan 10, Robert Guiscard
and his brother Roger took Palermo in Sicily.
1130 Sep 27, Roger II
(1095-1154) became King of Sicily.
1154 Feb 26, Roger II Guiscard
(60), King of Sicily (1101-54), died. William the bad succeeded his
father, Roger the II.
1156 May 28, Battle at
Brindisi: King William of Sicily beat a Byzantine fleet.
1194 Feb 20, Tancredo of Lecce,
King of Sicily, died.
1194 Dec 26, Frederick II,
German Emperor (1212-1220) and King of Sicily (1198-1250), was born
in Lesi, Italy. He became the Holy Roman emperor and King of Italy
in 1220 and continued to 1250.
1197 Sep 29, Emperor Henry VI
died in Messina, Sicily.
1266 Feb 26, Charles d’Anjou,
king of the two Sicilies, defeated Manfred (33), in the Battle of
Benevento. Manfred, the bastard son of Emperor Frederik II, king of
Sicily, was killed.
(PCh, 1992, p.114)(SC, 2/26/02)
1282 Mar 30, Furious
inhabitants of Palermo attacked French occupation force in the
"Sicilian Vespers." The Mafia appeared in Sicily to revolt against
French rule after a drunken soldier attacked a young woman on her
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)(MC, 3/30/02)
1282 Mar 31, The great massacre
of the French in Sicily, "The Sicilian Vespers," came to an end.
[see Aug 31,1303]
1282 Apr 28, Villagers in
Palermo led a revolt against French rule in Sicily.
1303 Aug 31, The War of Vespers
in Sicily ended with an agreement between Charles of Valois, who
invaded the country, and Frederick, the ruler of Sicily.
1347 Oct, Sailors from Genoa
arrived in Messina, Sicily. Plague had broken out earlier among the
troops of the Kipchak Khan, who was besieging the Black Sea port of
Kaffa. He catapulted dead bodies over the city walls. When Italian
trading vessels in the harbor returned to Genoa, the carried the
plague to Europe. The plague, an infectious fever caused by the
bacillus Yersinia pestis, appears in several varieties: bubonic
(which involves swelling of the lymph glands), pneumonic (which
involves the lungs) and septicemia (which involves severe infection
in the bloodstream).
(SFEM, 10/12/97, p.31)(HNQ, 1/20/01)(SSFC,
1347-1350 The Black Death: A Genoese trading post
in the Crimea was besieged by an army of Kipchaks from Hungary and
Mongols from the East. The latter brought with them a new form of
plague, Yersinia pestis. Infected dead bodies were catapulted into
the Genoese town. One Genoese ship managed to escape and brought the
disease to Messina, Sicily. The disease quickly became an epidemic.
It moved over the next few years to northern Italy, North Africa,
France, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, the Low
countries, England, Scandinavia and the Baltic. There were lesser
outbreaks in many cities for the next twenty years. An estimated 25
million died in Europe and economic depression followed. In 2005
John Kelly authored “The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the
Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time."
(NG, 5/88, p.678)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)(SSFC,
3/6/05, p.B1)(SFC, 10/13/11, p.A6)
1366 Oct 12, King Frederick III
of Sicily forbade decorations on synagogues.
1416 Apr 2, Ferdinand I (52)
the Justified, king of Aragon and Sicily, died.
1428 Feb 5, King Alfonso V
ordered Sicily's Jews to convert to Catholicism.
1452 Mar 10, Ferdinand II, the
Catholic King of Aragon (1479-1516) and Sicily (1468-1516), was
born. He bankrolled Columbus and expelled Jews.
(WUD, 1994 p.524)(MC, 3/10/02)
1492 Dec 31, 100,000 Jews were
expelled from Sicily.
1493 Jan 12, This was the last
day for all Jews to leave Sicily.
1589 Apr 4, Benedict of Palermo
(b.1524), born in Sicily to Ethiopian slaves, died. He was freed at
birth and became known for his charity. Invited as a young man to
join a Franciscan hermit group, he became the leader. He was
beatified by Pope Benedict XIV in 1743 and canonized in 1807 by Pope
1609 Caravaggio (1571-1610)
completed his "Adoration of the Shepherds," during a brief stay in
1669 Mar 11, Mount Etna in
Sicily began erupting. Lava flows that destroyed at least 10
villages on its southern flank before reaching the city walls of the
town of Catania five weeks later, on 15 April. Contemporaneous
accounts written both in Italian and English mention no deaths
related to this eruption (but give very precise figures of the
number of buildings destroyed, the area of cultivated land lost, and
the economic damage).
1693 Jan 11, An earthquake
struck parts of southern Italy near Sicily, Calabria and Malta. It
destroyed at least 70 towns and cities, seriously affecting an area
of 5,600 square km (2,200 sq. miles) and causing the death of about
1740 Feb 3, Charles de Bourbon,
King of Naples, invited the Jews to return to Sicily.
1808 Aug 1, Joachim Murat
(1767-1815), French marshal and Napoleon's brother in law, became
king of Naples (1808-1815) and Sicily.
1848 Jan 12, Sicilians in
Palermo proclaimed a Provisional Government. The People proclaimed a
constitution and elected a parliament. The Sicilian Republic
survived for only 16 months.
(http://tinyurl.com/l8u42fx)(Econ, 7/13/13, SR
1860 May 11, Giuseppe Garibaldi
landed at Marsala, Sicily. He began a series of campaigns that
politically unified most of the Italian peninsula in 1861.
(HN, 5/11/99)(ON, 10/06, p.7)
1868 Nov 28, Mt. Etna in Sicily
1885 Aug 9, Pietro Frosini
(d.1951), renowned as much for his compositions as for his accordion
playing, was born Pietro Giuffrida to a farming family on in the
Mascalucia province of Catania, Sicily.
1892 Mar 9, Frank Puglia, actor
(Black Orchid, Jungle Book), was born in Sicily, Italy.
1896 Nov 11, Charles "Lucky"
Luciano, NYC Mafia gangster, was born in Sicily.
1896 Dec 23, Giuseppe Tomasi di
Lampedusa, Sicilian writer, was born. His classic novel “Il
Gattopardo" (The Leopard), was published in 1958.
1905 Jan 18, Joseph Bonanno
(d.2002), later NYC mafia boss, was born in Castellmare del Golfo,
(SSFC, 5/12/02, p.A23)
1908 Dec 28, Some
70,000-100,000 people died in the Messina earthquake in Sicily. The
government hired a number of steamships, including the Florida, to
ship survivors to America.
p.899)(WSJ, 2/8/99, p.A21)
1930 Sep 11, The Stromboli
volcano off Sicily threw 2-ton basaltic rocks 2 miles.
1943 Apr 30, The British
submarine HMS Seraph dropped “the man who never was," a dead man
(Welsh laborer Glyndwr Michael) was planted with false invasion
plans, into the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain. Operation
Mincemeat was based on a 1939 suggestion by Lt. Commander Ian
Fleming, and was used to cover Britain’s invasion of Sicily. Details
of the operation were kept secret until 1953 when Ewen Montagu
published “The Man Who Never Was."
(ON, 10/2010, p.4)
1943 Jul 5, US invasion fleet
(96 ships) sailed to Sicily.
1943 Jul 9, American and
British forces made an amphibious landing on Sicily. The 'man who
never was' pulled off one of the greatest deceptions in military
history--after his death. In April Britain’s Operation Mincemeat had
landed the dead body of an itinerant Welsh laborer, Glyndwr Michael,
disguised as a Major Martin, on the shore of Spain near Huelva.
False papers on the body led the Germans to believe the allies would
attack Greece and Sardinia rather than Sicily. The idea had been
originally devised in 1939 as one of 51 submitted by Lt. Commander
Ian Fleming. Operation Mincemeat was kept secret until 1953, the
same year that “Casino Royale," Fleming’s first James Bond novel was
(ON, 10/10, p.5)
1943 Jul 10, US and British
forces completed their amphibious landing in Sicily in Operation
(AP, 7/10/97)(HN, 7/10/01)(MC, 7/10/02)
1943 Jul 11, US guns at Gela,
Sicily, hurled fire at unseen planes overhead. The result was the
war’s worst friendly fire incident. Twenty C-47 transports with 18
men each were knocked down by allied gunfire. 318 American soldiers
were killed or wounded.
(SSFC, 3/10/19, DB
1943 Jul 18, There was a
British assault on Catania, Sicily.
1943 Jul 22, The American
Seventh Army forces led by Gen. George S. Patton captured Palermo,
Sicily. Gen Patton moved his troops across Sicily through August.
1943 Aug 3, Gen. George S.
Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him
of cowardice. Patton was later ordered by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
to apologize for this and a second, similar episode.
1943 Aug 17, The Allied
conquest of Sicily was completed as U.S. and British forces entered
Messina. American casualties were later announced as 7,500 dead,
wounded or captured.
(AP internet, 8/17/97)(HN, 8/17/98)(SSFC, 9/2/18,
1944 The US Army handed over
the reins of power to local "anti-fascists" who were in fact Mafia
(SFC, 5/5/99, p.A13)
1950 Jul 5, Salvatore Giuliano
(b.1922), Sicilian bandit, was shot by police in Castelvetrano.
1955 Jun 1, The 3-day Messina
Conference opened in Sicily. This conference of the foreign
ministers of the six member states of the European Coal and Steel
Community (ECSC) led to the creation of the European Economic
Community in 1958.
1969 Oct 18, The painting
"Nativity" by Caravaggio was stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo
in Palermo, Sicily. Peter Watson, English novelist, later wrote "The
Caravaggio Conspiracy," an account of his 1981-1982 attempt to
recover the work.
1970 Jul 18, Arthur Brown
(b.1942), English rock singer, was arrested for stripping on stage
in Palermo, Sicily.
1971 Apr 5, In Sicily, Italy,
Mount Etna began a series of eruptions.
1972 May 5, Alitalia’s DC-8
Flight 112 crashed west of Palermo, Sicily; killing 115.
1978-1994 A power struggle raged between Salvatore
“toto" Riina of Corleone and Gaetano “Tanu" Badalamenti of Cinisi.
The “mattanza" killed an estimated 12-14 thousand over 16 years.
(SFC, 1/8/01, p.A4)
1980 Jun 27, A DC-9 crashed
near Sicily and 81 people were killed. In 1999 it was reported that
a fight by warplanes led to the crash and coverup charges were filed
against Italian military officials.
1986 Feb 10, The largest
Mafia trial in history, with 474 defendants, opened in Palermo,
Italy. The trial ended on December 16, 1987, almost two years after
it commenced. Of the 474 defendants, both those present and those
tried in absentia, 360 were convicted. 2,665 years of prison
sentences were shared out between the guilty, not including the life
sentences. A total of 114 defendants were acquitted.
1988 The film “Cinema Paradiso"
by Giuseppe Tornatore was about life in a Sicilian town following WW
(WSJ, 8/7/98, p.W4)
1990 Sep 21, Italian judge
Rosario Livatino (b.1952) was killed by the Cosa Nostra in Sicily.
His story inspired a novel, Il giudice ragazzino ("The Boy Judge"),
written by Nando Dalla Chiesa in 1992, and this was made into a film
with the same title in 1994 by director Alessandro di Robilant. In
2020 Pope Francis said he was a martyr for the faith and could be
beatified, or declared "Blessed".
1991 Aug 29, Libero
Grassi, Italian underwear manufacturer, anti mafia, was gunned down
1992 May 23, In Sicily
anti-Mafia investigator Giovannii Falcone was murdered on a highway
outside Palermo. Falcone’s wife and 3 bodyguards were also killed.
Sicilian politician Salvo Lima was also murdered. Anti-Mafia
investigator Paolo Borsellino was killed in another blast some
months later. In 1997 Pietro Aglieri, aka "U Signurinu" (The Little
Gentleman), was arrested for involvement in all three murders. 24
mobsters were convicted in the murder in 1997, including Leoluca
Bagarella. Salvatore Riina was later credited with ordering
9/27/97, p.A12)(SFEC, 6/7/98, p.A23)(Econ 6/10/17, p.53)
1992 Jul 19, Paolo Borsellino,
Italian anti-mafia judge, was murdered by mafia. In 2014 An Italian
newspaper reported that the remote control to detonate the bomb that
killed anti-Mafia prosecutor Paolo Borsellino was hidden inside the
intercom at his mother's Palermo residence. Salvatore Riina was
later credited with ordering the murder.
3/12/14)(Econ 6/10/17, p.53)
1993 Jan 8, Sicilian journalist
Beppe Alfano (b.1945) was killed by the Mafia.
1993 Jan 15, In Sicily
Salvatore "The Beast" Riina was arrested. "Toto" Riina, the Sicilian
boss of bosses, was arrested for his role in the murder of
prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. Bernardo Provenzano was considered to
have taken over as boss of the Sicilian Mafia following Riina’s
arrest. Provenzano’s right-hand man was Mariano Troia.
p.14A)(www.answers.com/topic/salvatore-riina)(SFC, 1/22/00, p.A11)
1993 May 9, Pope John Paul II
made an anti-Mafia speech in Agrigento, Sicily.
1993 Sep 15, In Sicily Rev.
Giuseppe Puglisi (56), a spokesman against organized crime, was shot
in the back of the neck while on the doorstep of his home. Courts
later ruled the gunman was carrying out orders by Mafia bosses
irritated by the priest's efforts to encourage young people to turn
their backs on the mob. In 1999 Giuseppe Graviano, a Mafia boss, was
convicted and sentenced to life in prison for ordering the murder.
Puglisi was declared a martyr by the Vatican and beatified in 2013,
the last formal step before possible sainthood.
(SFC, 10/6/99, p.C16)(AFP, 9/15/18)
1993 In Catania a “man of
honor" reportedly ordered the strangling of 4 boys, aged 12-14, for
the robbery of his mother’s handbag.
(SFC, 9/3/97, p.C2)
1997 Sep 3, It was reported
that Catania (pop. 378,000) has some 100 gangland killings per year.
(SFC, 9/3/97, p.C2)
1998 Jul 11, It was reported
that fires in southern Italy and Sicily burned 2,500 acres of forest
(SFC, 7/11/98, p.A8)
1998 Sep 15, Italian police
arrested Mariano Troia (65), one of the Mafia’s most notorious
figures, near Palermo.
(USAT, 9/16/98, p.14A)
1999 Oct 23, In Palermo, Italy,
Giulio Andreotti (80), 7 times prime minister, was acquitted of
charges that he was the Sicilian Mafia's protector in Rome.
(SFEC, 10/24/99, p.A17)
2001 Jan 8, The Mafia
Archipelago under the new Cosa Nuova was estimated to have annual
earnings of $30 billion.
(SFC, 1/8/01, p.A4)
2001 Jun 10, Silvio Berlusconi
(64), known as Il Cavaliere, became premier for a 2nd time and
formed his Cabinet. He promised a 100-day revolution to transform
the economy. All 61 single-member constituencies in Sicily went to
(SFC, 6/11/01, p.A8)(SFC, 9/7/01, p.A15)(Econ,
2002 Jun 7, It was reported
that Italy had committed to a $4.3 billion project for a suspension
bridge linking Sicily over the 2-mile-wide straits of Messina.
(WSJ, 6/7/02, p.A1)(Econ, 11/22/03, p.75)
2002 Jul 20, In northeastern
Sicily a passenger train derailed and apparently crashed into an
abandoned house, killing at least eight people and injuring some 30
2002 Sep, In Sicily the
strongest earthquake in 20 years caused some $500 million in damage.
(SFC, 9/14/02, p.A20)
2002 Oct 27, In Sicily Mount
Etna began spewing thick clouds of ash and magma.
2002 Nov 19, Vito Ciancimino
(b.1924), former mayor of Palermo and leading Mafioso tied to the
Corleonese clan, died while under house arrest. In 2006 Francesco
Zummo faced charges of laundering money to Monaco on behalf of
2003 May 2, In eastern Sicily
Giuseppe Leotta (42), a disgruntled worker, opened fire with a
handgun in the Aci Castello town hall, killing 5 people. He fled and
then killed himself.
2004 Feb, Experts were
dispatched to the village of Canneto di Caronia, Sicily, following a
series of mysterious fires that charred dozens of objects.
(SFC, 2/21/04, p.A22)
2004 Jun 11, In Palermo,
Sicily, a court convicted and sentenced 30 top Sicilian mobsters to
life imprisonment after a 10-year trial covering a total of 77
2005 Jul 11, A judge ordered
the arrest and isolation of 3 senior officers of the Banco di
Credito Cooperativo Sofige Gela, a small bank on Sicily’s southern
coast. They had been under investigation for aiding and abetting the
(Econ, 7/16/05, p.72)
2005 Aug 6, A Tunis Air jet
carrying 35 passengers went down in the sea off the Sicilian coast,
and rescuers were on their way. 16 people were killed, while 23
survived. A bad fuel gauge on the Tuninter plane caused the crash.
On March 23, 2009, the Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of
taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, was
sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his
co-pilot. Another five employees of Tuninter, a subsidiary of
Tunisair, were sentenced to between 8 and 9 years in jail.
(AP, 8/5/05)(AP, 8/7/05)(WSJ, 9/8/05,
2005 Oct 28, Police in Sicily
said they have arrested two suspected mobsters accused of plotting
to murder a judge with a car bomb.
2005 Dec 26, Character actor
Vincent Schiavelli (57), who appeared in scores of movies, including
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Ghost," died at his home in
2006 Feb 10, In Sicily NATO
defense ministers sought to calm Islamic anger over cartoons of the
Prophet Muhammad at a counterterrorism meeting with Arab countries
including Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and
2006 Apr 11, Bernardo
Provenzano (73), Italy's reputed No. 1 Mafia boss, was arrested at a
farmhouse in Sicily after frustrating investigators' efforts to
catch him during more than 40 years on the run.
(AP, 4/11/06)(SFC, 4/12/06, p.A7)
2006 May 21, Local authorities
said boats carrying more than 400 migrants have been intercepted off
Lampedusa over the past 48 hours, overwhelming the tiny island south
2006 Aug 18, At least 10 people
died and as many as 40 were feared missing when a small boat packed
with illegal immigrants sank off Sicily, prompting Italy to call for
greater cooperation to fight human trafficking.
2006 Aug 19, Ten bodies were
found and about 20 other people were believed missing after a 2nd
boat in 2 days carrying would-be immigrants sank off the Italian
island of Lampedusa. Some 70 survivors were plucked from the water
after the boat sank, several of whom said there had been 120 people
on the boat.
2006 Sep 2, A small boat of
African migrants from Eritrea was intercepted off the coast of
Sicily. They said eight people died during their grueling trip. They
had left from Libya 10-12 days earlier.
2006 Nov 15, A court in
Palermo, Sicily, convicted 46 deputies, confidants and helpers of
jailed Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, many of whom helped the
former fugitive evade capture, and sentenced them to terms of up to
18 years in prison.
2007 Jan 15, A cargo ship and a
commuter hydrofoil collided near the entrance to the Sicilian port
of Messina, killing four people and leaving dozens of passengers
2007 May 30, In Sicily a
dedicated anti-Mafia economic crime unit began running under Antonio
(Econ, 6/9/07, p.87)
2007 Aug 22, Wind-whipped fires
that have been ravaging parts of Sicily consumed a hotel near the
port city of Messina, killing at least two people.
2007 Nov 5, In Sicily Salvatore
Lo Piccolo (65), who magistrates believe is the Sicilian Mafia's new
"boss of bosses," was arrested after nearly a quarter of a century
on the run. He was arrested with his son, Sandro (32), and two other
2007 Dec 3, Daniele Emmanuello
(43), the Mafia godfather of Gela, Sicily, was killed while trying
to escape police. He was considered one of Italy's 30 most dangerous
(AP, 12/3/07)(Econ, 12/8/07, p.62)
2007 Dec 4, In Italy Vincenzo
Santapaola, a suspected Mafia boss, and scores of alleged mobsters
were arrested during raids in Catania, Sicily. Police also seized
weapons and drugs, and found a book that listed extortion fees and
salaries of the people working for the family.
2008 Jan 16, Italian police
arrested scores of suspected mobsters in Palermo in the latest raid
on suspected Sicilian Mafia hideouts.
2008 Jan 18, A court in Palermo
convicted Sicily's Gov. Salvatore Cuffaro of helping a Mafia boss
and sentenced him to five years in prison.
2008 Oct 5 - 2008 Oct 7, The
need of a socio-economic knowledge collider was first pointed out in
the OECD Global Science Forum on Applications of Complexity Science
for Public Policy in Erice, Sicily. The FuturICT project (Future
Information and Communication Technology) grew from this to explore
social life on Earth, and everything it relates to.
2008 Nov 18, Italian
authorities in Sicily seized assets worth euro700 million ($885
million) from Giuseppe Grigoli, a supermarket chain owner, suspected
of letting the Mafia use his businesses to launder money.
2008 Dec 16, Italian police
backed by helicopters arrested almost 90 suspected mobsters and
thwarted a plan by the hobbled Sicilian Mafia to reconstitute itself
and form a new ruling commission to set strategy. Gaetano Lo Presti
(52), the alleged Mafia boss of a Palermo neighborhood, hanged
himself in jail, hours after he was arrested in a blitz against Cosa
(AP, 12/16/08)(AP, 12/17/08)
2009 Jan 24, In Italy some 600
migrants and refugees broke out of an overcrowded immigration
facility on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa to protest their
treatment. The migrants returned to the facility after several
2009 Apr 29, Youssef Magied
al-Molqui, one of the 4 Palestinians who hijacked the Achille Lauro
cruise ship and killed an American passenger in 1985, left prison in
Palermo, Sicily, after more than 23 years in jail. Ibrahim Fatayer
Abdelatif, another convicted Achille Lauro hijacker, was released
2009 Jun 16, Italian police
said they had arrested 13 people suspected of helping a top Mafia
fugitive hide, communicate with other mobsters and conduct his
business. Investigators said they are closing in on Matteo Messina
Denaro, a fugitive who is among a handful of mobsters vying to take
over the Sicilian Mafia. Most of the arrests were carried out in
Trapani, a city in Western Sicily that is the power base of Messina
2009 Jun 20, Italian police in
Sicily said they have arrested 14 people and placed more than 250
under investigation in the country's biggest sweep against Internet
2009 Oct 2, In Italy rivers of
mud unleashed by heavy rains overnight flooded parts of the Sicilian
city of Messina, leaving at least 22 people dead while sweeping away
cars and collapsing buildings. 40 people remained missing.
(AP, 10/3/09)(AP, 10/4/09)
2009 Nov 15, Italian police
captured convicted mobster Domenico Raccuglia, one of Sicily’s top
mafia fugitives, in an apartment near Trapani.
(SFC, 11/16/09, p.A2)
2010 Feb 2, The key witness in
a Mafia trial in Sicily told a court that a close ally of PM Silvio
Berlusconi had direct links with the former "Boss of Bosses" of the
2010 Mar 10, National police in
Rome said 20 warrants have been issued so far in Palermo and six
arrests have been made in the United States. Police say the
crackdown targeted a Palermo-based Mafia crime family, and those
named in the warrants are suspected of being mobsters and running
extortion, money laundering and drug trafficking operations.
2010 Oct 23, In Italy mafia
fugitive Gerlandino Messina (38) was nabbed by Carabinieri in
Favara, near Agrigento, his power base in Sicily. He had been on the
run for 11 years before being caught.
2011 Mar 19, Six Danish F-16
fighter jets landed at the US air base in Sigonella, Sicily, and a
half-dozen US aircraft arrived elsewhere as the military buildup
mounted in Italy for possible action against Libya.
2012 Aug 12, In Italy Hundreds
of Wind Jet airline passengers became stranded due to the failure of
Alitalia's deal to purchase the Sicily-based low-cost carrier.
2013 Apr 3, Italy's anti-Mafia
investigators said they have seized a record €1.3 billion ($1.7
billion) in cash and property from Vito Nicastri (57) for tax
fraud. The Sicilian alternative energy entrepreneur was alleged to
have close ties to the Mafia.
2013 May 25, In Sicily Rev.
Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi (d.1993) was beatified in a ceremony in
Palermo, where he worked in a mobster-infested, poor neighborhood.
2013 Aug 7, Italy allowed 102
migrants who were stranded on a tanker in the Mediterranean to
disembark on the Sicilian coast after Malta refused them entry for
three days despite European Union calls for it to help on
2013 Aug 10, Six migrants
drowned off the Italian island of Sicily after attempting a
dangerous passage from Africa in a fishing boat that carried some
102 people. Rescuers saved 250 people who had tried to cross in
flimsy boats from northern Africa to southern Europe.
(Reuters, 8/10/13)(SSFC, 8/11/13, p.A6)
2013 Oct 26, Mount Etna,
Europe's most active volcano, erupted, sending up a towering plume
of ash visible in much of eastern Sicily.
2013 Nov 16, Sicily’s Mount
Etna began erupting againt.
(SFC, 11/18/13, p.A2)
2013 Dec 13, Italian police
said they have arrested 30 people linked to Matteo Messina Denaro,
the head of Cosa Nostra, including his sister and several cousins in
2013 Dec 17, In Sicily
eruptions at Mount Etna volcano died down, allowing the nearby
airport of Catania to re-open after a two-day stoppage that
disrupted dozens of flights.
2014 Feb 19, An Italian court
sentenced Rafaelle Lombardo, a former governor of Sicily, to six
years and eight months in prison for links to the Mafia. He resigned
in 2012 following an indictment.
(SFC, 2/20/14, p.A2)
2014 Apr 4, British police
re-arrested Domenico Rancadore in London after they received a new
arrest warrant request from Italy. The warrant alleges that the
65-year-old has an "outstanding sentence of seven years of
imprisonment to serve for participation in Mafia association" from
1987 to 1995 in Sicily.
2015 Apr 18, A migrant ship
sank off Sicily with an estimated 700-800 people aboard in one of
the worst known tragedies of the Mediterranean migrant crisis.
2015 Apr 24, A judge in Sicily
confirmed the arrest warrants against the suspected captain,
Mohammad Ali Malek (27) from Tunisia, and crew member Mahmud Bikhit
(25) of Syria, of the smuggling boat that capsized in the April 18
migrant disaster that left some 800 people dead.
(AP, 4/24/15)(AP, 6/29/16)
2015 Jul 8, Italian authorities
said they have seized assets worth more than 1.6 billion euros
($1.75 billion) from a family of five Sicilian pensioners believed
to have links to a prominent mafia clan. The haul belonged to
Carmelo Virga (66), his brothers Vincenzo (78), and Francesco (71),
and their sisters Anna (76) and Rosa (68).
2015 Jul 15, Some 335 migrants
arrived in port in Augusta, Sicily, after a week at sea. Parents of
a 10-year-old Syrian girl with diabetes said she died after the
smugglers threw her insulin overboard. Police in Sicily soon
arrested three Egyptians who allegedly were in charge of the
2015 Jul 25, The Italian
coastguard said more than 1,200 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan
Africa and Syria, arrived in Sicily, after having been picked up in
2015 Aug 3, Italian police
arrested 11 suspects linked to the fugitive head of the Sicilian
Mafia, including a former boss who ran a secret message system for
the mobster using a sheep-based code. Matteo Messina Denaro (53) had
been on the run since 1993.
2015 Aug 26, The Swedish ship
Poseidon, working with the European Union's border control agency
Frontex, found 52 migrants dead in the hold of a boat off the coast
of Libya. Rescue operations saved over 700 other people. On Aug 28
prosecutors in Sicily detained crew included seven Moroccans, two
Syrians and a Libyan on suspicion of smuggling and murder.
(Reuters, 8/26/15)(SFC, 8/27/15, p.A4)(AP,
2015 Oct 19, NATO held a launch
ceremony for its biggest military exercise in 13 years, mobilizing
36,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from more than 30 countries to
test the alliance's ability to respond to new security threats.
Trapani, Sicily, will serve as the center for the exercise that
begins Oct 21 and runs through early November.
2015 Nov 2, Police in Sicily
arrested 22 suspected mobsters after businesses, tired of paying the
Mafia "protection" money, rebelled and contacted authorities.
2016 Feb 23, It was reported
that Italy has agreed that US forces can use an airbase in Sicily to
launch drone strikes against Islamic State targets in Libya on a
2016 Sep 7, Italian rescuers
brought more than 350 migrants to shore in Sicily, along with the
bodies of five women and two men who had died on the perilous
2017 Feb 11, Police in Sicily
confiscated four olive companies, farmland, villas and other
property that anti-Mafia prosecutors contend belong to the business
empire of Italy's top Mafia boss, who has been on the run for more
than 20 years.
2017 May 22, In Sicily killers
gunned down Mafia boss Giuseppe Dainotti (67) in Palermo as the Cosa
Nostra flexed its muscles on the eve of the 25th anniversary of one
of its most notorious murders. In 1993 Dainotti turned himself in
and became a police collaborator. He was released from prison in
2014 after serving time for murder.
2017 May 26, In Sicily leaders
from the world's major industrialized nations began two-day talks at
a G7 summit. G7 leaders signed a declaration on combating terrorism
and violent extremism.
(AP, 5/26/17)(Reuters, 5/26/17)(SFC, 5/27/17,
2017 May 26, In Sicily US
President Donald Trump and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe agreed to expand
sanctions against North Korea for its continued development of
nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
(AP, 5/26/17)(Reuters, 5/26/17)
2017 May 27, In Sicily the G7
democracies ended their summit without unanimous agreement on
climate change. Six nations in the Group of Seven agreed to stick
with their commitment to implement the 2015 Paris deal that aims to
slow down global warming. US President Donald Trump said he would
decide next week whether the United States would abide by the 2015
Paris agreement on cutting global carbon emissions.
2017 Jun 6, Authorities in
Sicily said they have detained 15 people accused of running a
high-end migrant smuggling racket that planned to bring to Italy
even people sought by Tunisian authorities for alleged links to
2017 Aug 7, In Sicily 15
firefighters were arrested on suspicion of deliberately setting
fires or having friends or family call in false alarms so they could
be called to work and earn money, announcing the arrest of the
(AP, 8/7/17)(AFP, 8/11/17)
2017 Oct 4, Italian police said
they have seized 11 million euros ($13 million) in assets and
arrested 37 people, including two Carabinieri officers, accused in a
Sicilian Mafia extortion racket involving fruit, fish and drugs.
2017 Nov 5, Sicilians cast
their ballots in a regional vote seen as a barometer for Italy's
general election next year, with the populist Five Star Movement
(M5S) challenging a resurgent right as a divided left flounders.
2017 Dec 5, Police in the
Sicilian capital of Palermo scooped up 25 suspected mobsters on an
array of charges, including Maria Angela Di Trapani (49) accused of
filling in as boss for her imprisoned husband.
2017 Dec 14, Italian police in
Sicily searched the homes and businesses of known allies of mobster
Matteo Messina Denaro (55), looking for hidden bunkers where the
fugitive godfather may be hiding.
2018 Apr 10, Italian
authorities said they have arrested 13 suspects in a high-speed
migrant trafficking ring operating between Tunisia and Sicily whose
members espoused radical jihadist views.
2018 Apr 19, Italian police
claimed progress in closing in on Italy's most-wanted Mafia
fugitive, Matteo Messina Denaro, arresting 21 suspected associates
in western Sicily, including family members to whom he had given
leadership roles in the clan.
2018 May 29, In Palermo,
Sicily, Settimo Mineo was elected head of the provincial mob
commission. In December Italian authorities arrested 46 people
(SFC, 12/5/18, p.A2)
2018 Jun 3, Angry protests
rocked cities across Jordan overnight against IMF-backed austerity
measures including a new income tax draft law and price hikes, hours
after the government and unions failed to reach an agreement to end
2018 Jun 6, Italian police said
five Romanians have been arrested in Sicily for allegedly exploiting
other Romanians as unpaid farmworkers and prostitutes.
2018 Jul 16, In Sicily about
400 migrants aboard two border patrol ships disembarked at the
Pozzallo port after a half-dozen European countries promised to take
some of them in rather than leave Italy alone to process their
2018 Aug 23, Mount Etna in
Sicily roared back into spectacular volcanic action, sending up
plumes of ash and spewing lava.
2018 Aug 26, Nearly 140
migrants who had been stranded on a boat at a port in Sicily were
allowed to disembark after Ireland and Albania agreed to take some
of them in. The migrants, mainly Eritreans and Somalis, were rescued
in the Mediterranean on Aug. 15 but waited 10 days while Italy's
anti-immigrant government refused to let them disembark, until
Ireland, Albania and the Vatican agreed to accept them.
(AFP, 8/26/18)(Reuters, 8/28/18)
2018 Sep 15, Pope Francis
appealed to Mafiosi to renounce their quests for power and money as
he visited Sicily to honor a priest slain by mob henchmen for trying
to protect youths from the evil clutches of organized crime.
2018 Nov 3, In Sicily a family
of nine drowned overnight after a swollen river on a plain near the
coastal town of Casteldaccia submerged their holiday villa in water
and mud in seconds, leaving them no chance for escape.
2018 Nov 4, Rescuers said
floods killed 12 people on the island of Sicily, including nine
members of a single family, pushing Italy's week-long storm toll
2018 Nov 12, Representatives of
Libya's quarreling factions attended a conference in Palermo aimed
at finding a political settlement to bolster the fight against
Islamic militants and stop illegal immigrants from crossing to
Europe's southern shores.
(SFC, 11/13/18, p.A5)
2018 Nov 13, Turkey pulled out
of Italian-sponsored Libya crisis talks in Palermo saying it
had been "excluded", dealing a fresh blow to the latest
international bid to stabilize the chaos-stricken country.
2018 Dec 24, In Sicily lava and
ash spewed from a new fracture on the active Mt. Etna volcano amid
an unusually high level of seismic activity.
2018 Dec 26, A magnitude 4.8
earthquake triggered by Mount Etna's eruption jolted eastern Sicily
before dawn, injuring at least 10 people.
2019 Jul 4, In Italy
firefighters doused fires ignited by the eruption of the Stromboli
volcano on the Sicilian island of Stromboli. One hiker was reported
(SFC, 7/5/19, p.A2)
2019 Jul 17, New York’s
notorious Gambino family and alleged mafia dons in Sicily were
targeted in a series of raids carried out by more than 200 officers
from the FBI and the Italian police.
(The Telegraph, 7/17/19)
2020 Jun 24, Sicily's regional
leader Nello Musumeci said dozens of migrants rescued in the
Mediterranean have tested positive for the new coronavirus while
held in a quarantine ship off the southern Italian coast.
2020 Aug 11, Italy's new cases
of the coronavirus increased by 412. Sicily reported 89 cases after
64 migrants tested positive at a screening center.
(SFC, 8/12/20, p.A5)