Arts & Entertainment

Adam Foulds’s last novel, The Quickening Maze, was a truly superb study in madness and early psychiatric methods, combining the intellectual and the visceral in often startling ways (few will forget his description of the “dismantling” of a deer). In this latest work, he retains that powerful blend and focuses on another kind of madness: the madness of war.

Inspector Montalbano, BBC4, Saturday
How to Grow a Planet, BBC2, Tuesday

Who would want to fill the 'Borgen' slot on BBC4? Sadly, mouth-watering views of Sicily and oodles of pasta do not a detective drama make

Wine: Something for the weekend

Couch potato

Benedict XVI: The Archbishop of Palermo Paolo Romeo is quoted as saying the Pontiff would die within 12 months

Vatican in turmoil after letter 'reveals plot to assassinate Pope'

Sensational claims of a plot to assassinate Pope Benedict XVI have whipped Italy into a frenzy and focused the world's attention on the poisonous atmosphere seeping through the corridors of the Holy See.

Upwardly mobile: Snowshoeing across the slopes of Etna

Fire and ice: Strap on your snow shoes and explore Mount Etna

There is one vital ingredient to every snowshoeing trip. And that's snow. Pulling back the curtains of my hotel room window, I gazed out at the sheer slopes of Mount Etna. There wasn't a flake to be seen. Did Luca, my guide, have some bad news? "Don't worry," he said, while loading our snowshoes into the van.

Big smoke: Mount Etna rumbles in the distance

48 Hours: Catania

Even in winter, this Sicilian city charms with colourful festivities, delicious food and dramatic scenery, says Duncan Garwood.

Accabadora, By Michela Murgia, trans. Silvester Mazzarella

Michela Murgia's novel has been an immense success in Italy, where it has won six literary prizes. Accabadora is a Sardinian term for an angel of mercy who tends the chronically sick and dying, acting as a kind of midwife with eternity in view. The accabadora here is Bonaria Urrai, a seamstress unable to have children. Bonaria adopts the six-year-old Maria Listru, whose widowed mother Anna Teresa can no longer afford to raise her. Maria thus becomes a fill'e anima, a soul-child, the fruit of Anna Teresa's womb and Bonaria's loving spirit.

Wine: Something for the weekend

Under £6

Appetite for lower-fat ice cream feeds high-street 'gelato' boom

When is an ice cream not an ice cream? When it's a "gelato".

Sicily's new oil boom threatens marine life, campaigners warn

Pristine and fragile stretches of the Sicilian coastline are under threat from the rush to plunder the island's rich oil resources, environment campaigners warned yesterday.

Video: Mount Etna erupts

The latest eruption on Mount Etna sent flames hundreds of metres into the air at the weekend.

Chelsea target Javier Pastore wants Italy stay

Javier Pastore would rather remain in Italy than join a Premier League team if he decides to leave Palermo this summer.

Letters from London and Europe, By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

The Prince of Lampedusa led an erratic life before, nearly 60, he began his ironic classic of 19th-century Sicily, The Leopard. Translated by JG Nichols, this selection of letters home during 1920s travels gathers much finely atmospheric writing.

Invisible Ink: No 83 - Alexander Baron

It's hard for frontline war writers to show an objective sensitivity to their subject matter while fighting for their country.

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