Arts and 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.

Mediterranean Islands: Rabbit stew, woodsmoke and an Emperor's villa

Staying in a cottage in deepest rural Sicily was always going to be unpredictable - but the surprises were all nice ones.

The 50 Best: hot reads; 50 best holiday books

There can be no greater pleasure, surely, than a great book plus the time and a beautiful place to read it in? With that thought in mind, Diona Gregory and her panel of experts have browsed the booklists to bring you the best of holiday reading. These are words to chill with, in sun or shade, on sand or sward, but always at your leisure...

Sicilians infected by cow disease

INVESTIGATORS IN Sicily believe the Mafia is behind an unexplained rise in cases of the animal disease brucellosis among humans.

Theatre: A song and dance for Europe

The Royal Court Theatre has just been to Sicily to pick up a well- deserved award for its international residencies and exchange programmes. But what company does the New Theatrical Realities prize keep? Is it all it's cracked up to be?

FASHION: GIVE YOUR FEET A SUMMER TREAT

Treat your feet for pounds 32

Word of mouth: Rocket man

Need exotic fruit and veg? Fred Foster knows his onions

Woman Mafia boss arrested

SICILIAN POLICE arrested one of Italy's few female Mafia bosses yesterday as she was having breakfast in her home town near Catania.

A good idea from... Machiavelli

THE FONDNESS of modern politicians for kissing babies in public before elections reflects a deep-seated wish on the part of the electorate: that there should be no incompatibility between being a powerful ruler and a nice one, between being a great politician and a good-hearted one. Which is perhaps why the name of Niccol Machiavelli (1469-1527) has proved so offensive down the ages.

Historical Notes: Why did Hannibal not march on Rome?

THE THREE Punic Wars, which lasted for nearly 100 years, from 264 to 146 BC, were a struggle for supremacy in the Mediterranean between the bludgeoning land power of Rome bent on imperial conquest, and the great maritime power of Carthage with its colonies and trading posts.

Mafia suspects held for mass killing

ITALIAN POLICE have arrested 17 suspected members of a mafia clan that it believes was behind a mass gangland killing in Sicily.

There's more than one way to discover Sicily's past

INFORMATION DESK: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS

Police close in on ageing Mafia don

ANTI-MAFIA investigators say they are tightening the noose around one of Italy's most powerful and mysterious bosses, Bernardo Provenzano. Although he has been in hiding for three decades, many believe he has never left his native Sicily.

Sicily's city of love and death

Phillip Blom explores Catania, birthplace of the great 19th-century opera composer Bellini, where life appears to have changed little since his day

Cycling: Boardman betrays lack of practice

CHRIS BOARDMAN'S return to the track discipline that gave him Olympic and world gold was as short-lived as he had forecast it would be.

`Pentiti' fail to nail Andreotti

ITALY's seven-time Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti warned top Sicilian mafiosi that he would be forced into launching a tough anti-crime crack-down if they did not call a halt to their internecine wars in 1993, the former Cosa Nostra boss Giovanni Brusca told a court in Perugia yesterday.
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

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Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

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Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
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Say it with... lyrics

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