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by Werner Mansholt
Today the Sicilian capital city with its nearly 700,000 inhabitants is the safest city in Italy, according to the national statistics office.This concerns not only homicides, but the entire list of crimes. The crime rate in Palermo in 2017 was 4400 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants - less than half of the 10,900 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants committed in Milan. Rome and Naples reported just over 6000 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. To be sure, the mafia has not been completely ousted from Palermo to this day - but it no longer dominates the city and politics nearly as much as it once did.After the assassination of the two judges and Mafia hunters Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992 it is Mayor Leoluca Orlando's credit that, after his first election as head of the city in 1985, he organized civil resistance against the mafia clans and launched the "Springtime of Palermo." The crumbling baroque palazzi of the historic center were restored, alleys and squares were equipped with electric lighting, green spaces and parks were prepared, and temples of culture such as the Teatro Massimo were reopened to the public. Under Orlando, the former mafia stronghold has become one of the country's most important cultural and tourist cities; in 2019 Palermo was Italy's Capital of Culture.My pictures of Palermo were taken during 4 stays in the last 7 years. As a traveling photographer strolling around in the streets I like to find strange objects and situations. There is always something beautiful, something special. The pictures tell little stories about human beings and the marks they left behind, about inconsistencies, juxtaposed humour and a sense of surrealism. It’s all about transience and time.