Anthony DiRenzo

Anthony DiRenzo

Professor, Department of Writing
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences


Like Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard, Federico De Roberto’s The Viceroys, and Susan Sontag’s The Volcano Lover,Trinàcria: A Tale of Bourbon Sicily chronicles the destruction of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during the Risorgimento.

Set in 18th and 19th century Palermo, Naples, and London, this historical novel revolves around Zita Valanguerra Spinelli (1794-1882), Marchesa of Scalea, notorious beauty, ferocious wit, secret murderer, and reluctant businesswoman, whose turbulent life mirrors her world’s rocky transition from feudalism to capitalism.

Trinàcria is available online at Guernica Editions and Amazon. For a preview, read the excerpts, articles, and interviews posted on this web page. The following links, however, will allow you to visit the book's online site (with a photo gallery and advanced reviews) and to screen its promotional video:


Shortly after the centennial of Garibaldi’s conquest, a Hollywood film crew invades Palermo to shoot an epic about the Italian Revolution. Researching the past, the director visits the Capuchin Monastery, whose catacombs contain over eight thousand mummies. Preserved among these is Marchesa Spinelli, dead for eighty years but still haunted by memories. Posthumously, she recalls her complicated relationships with Don Alfonso, her scientist father; Benjamin Ingham, a British wine merchant and an honorary Sicilian baron, whom the Marchesa failed to marry; Regina, her patriotic and rebellious granddaughter, who idolizes Verdi and Garibaldi; and Giacomo Leopardi, the doomed Romantic poet.

Drawing on history and family legend, Trinàcria presents a tale of progress and reaction, irony and paradox, in which the splendors of Caserta must yield to the wonders of the Crystal Palace. Both intimate and sweeping, this story questions the price of pride and the cost of prosperity and contrasts illusions of grandeur and dreams of happiness with the pitiless truth that kills all hope and desire. As readers will learn, this is the fatal spell of Sicily—an island of loss and change—where death alone is eternal.

Articles, Book Reviews, and Interviews

Radio and Television



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