|Piana degli Albanesi
Hora e Arbëreshëvet
|Comune of Piana degli Albanesi
Bashkia e Horës së Arbëreshëvet
A view of Piana degli Albanesi
|• Mayor||Vito Scalia (since May 7, 2012)|
|• Total||64.89 km2 (25.05 sq mi)|
|Elevation||740 m (2,430 ft)|
|• Density||96/km2 (250/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Dialing code||091 857|
|Patron saint||M. St. Hodegetria, St. Demetrius, St. George|
|Saint day||2 September, 26 October, 23 April|
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The town is the most important and populous Albanian (Arbëreshë) settlement in Sicily and it is the episcopal see of the Italo-Albanian Byzantine Church that, after five centuries from its foundation, wholly preserves its ethnic-linguistic identity.
The community has maintained many ethnic elements of Albanian culture like language, religious ritual, traditional costumes, music and folklore. The inhabitants are the descendants of Albanian families, including nobles and relatives of Skanderbeg, that settled in Southern Italy during the Ottoman Turkish conquest of the Balkans. The municipal government uses bilingual documents and road signs in Albanian and Italian under existing Italian legislation on protecting ethnic and linguistic minorities.
Piana degli Albanesi was founded in the late fifteenth century by a large group of Albanian refugees coming from the Balkans during the conquest of the latter by the Ottoman Empire. The exodus began after the defeat of the Byzantine Empire and the death of Skanderbeg, who successfully fought for the freedom of their people for more than two decades.
The village was founded on 30 August 1488, was asked to Cardinal Giovanni Borgia by Monreale the right to remain in the lands of Mercu and Aydingli, located in the mountains in the province of Palermo.
In 1482–85, after several attacks from the Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox Christian Albanians were forced to the Adriatic coast where they hired ships from Republic of Venice and escaped by sailing managed to advance up to reach Sicily.[clarification needed] They apparently were housed in temporary camps somewhere near Palermo until about 1486 or 1487, when they were granted land know initially as the "Plain of the Archbishop", inland areas of Sicily, in the mountains above the city of Palermo. Signed the "capitulation" in Albanian and Italian, which were also recognized with followed by the Brief of Pope Sixtus IV, the official concession of land was granted to the settlers in 1488, followed by the construction of the largest Albanian center of the island and, primarily, religious buildings.
King John II of Spain and Sicily allowed the original refugees to occupy the present place and to preserve their Orthodox religion, which was identified as Greek, so that the small town had the name of Piana dei Greci. In 1673 the local priest Domenico Mamola in a note written in Greek refers the Piana as "Piana of the Greeks" (Πιάνα των ρωμαίων). In 1941, during the Fascist regime and after Italy attacked Greece, the name was changed to "Piana degli Albanesi".
During the 19th century, the Arbëreshë of Piana degli Albanesi played a significant role for the Italian national unity, and participated in the stronger phases of the movement of Fasci Siciliani. The inhabitants of Piana degli Albanesi were known to have a reputation for compared to the maximum of his country,[clarification needed] patriotic Albanians and first rebelliousness to the precarious situation of the times, but were not organized politically until the arrival of the Fascio in April 1893.[clarification needed]
In 1947, the regional Mafia hired the bandit Salvatore Giuliano to shoot down the annual May Day demonstration of the Pianesi, which took place in a remote mountain pass. The bandit and his gang indeed attacked them there, killing fourteen people in what came to be known as the Portella della Ginestra massacre.
After the founding of the village the inhabitants were required by papal decree to declare allegiance to the Pope and thus their faith was changed from Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic, in practice their daily rituals changed little.
Over the centuries the inhabitants have jealously preserved their cultural roots as the Byzantine rite, language, traditions and typical women's costumes richly embroidered, and today, in the twenty-first century, is still strong attachment to the land native.[clarification needed]
Piana degli Albanesi is 800 metres (2,600 ft) above sea level in a mountainous valley that ends at the lake of Piana degli Albanesi. Is a mountain resort, whose naturalistic environment and typical mild mediterranean climate create an peaceful and serene oasis. Its natural frame consists of a lake, the mountains and the typical rural quarters.
It is surrounded by four mountains (Pizzuta, Kumeta, Maganoce, Xeravulli), natural sites (Neviere, Cave Garrone, Honi), and the nature reserve Serre della Pizzuta. There are a number of recreational activities available in the area, such as hiking, cycling, horse riding, canoeing, and paragliding.
The territory is crossed by several streams. To the south-east, immersed in the greenness, there is the artificial lake formed in 1923 by damming the Belice Destro river (Lumi Honi), barred in the 1920s to allow for the construction of the Lake of Piana degli Albanesi, since 1999 a natural oasis protected and safeguarded by the World Wildlife Foundation.
The historic center of the country plays a constructive late-medieval style, reflecting the social status and economic conditions of the time when the settlement was built. The city streets are narrow and consist of steps (shkallët) and neighborhood (gjitoni), the physical space meeting place in front of the houses, with the exception of the main road (udha/dhromi i madhë), wide and straight that divides the country different sections. The joint par excellence is the Piazza Grande (Qaca e Madhe), from which wind dialogues and community relationships. The architecture and urbanism of the old town has changed in the middle of last century, thus compromising the original charm.
The churches of the town are among the most important architectural structures, the testimony of these two styles, the baroque linked to the Byzantine Empire. Of particular interest are the works of the architect and painter Pietro Novelli, very active in the Albanian colony.
The most notable churches in the country of Piana degli Albanesi are:
- The Cathedral of Shën Mitri Dëshmor (St. Demetrius Megalomartyr), which serves as the principal church of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi, the church dates to 1498/1590. The Cathedral is a building dating from the late fifteenth-century, that preserves some significant frescoes by Pietro Novelli. The most ancient work is the icon of the God Mother with the Christ (1500). The presence of two cultures (Byzantine-barocue) is so evident in the place.
- the Church of Shën Mëria së Dhitrjës (St. Mary Odigitria), located in the village main square, was built in 1644 according to the project architect Pietro Novelli. The church, the only architectural work by Novelli, has the nave divided from the two aisles by four pillars to support the octagonal dome with a small lantern. It preserves a Virgin Odigitria icon that is said to have been brought here by the refugees during their flight from Albania.
- the Church of Shën Gjergji Dëshmor (St. George), built in 1492, is the most ancient in the town. It preserves some remarkable frescoes by Novelli father.
- the Church of Shën Kolli (St. Nicholas), important church which houses precious icons of the seventeenth century.
- the Church of Shën Viti (St. Vito), dating back to 1514, with an imposing portal, which is of Latin rite.
- the Church of Shën Gjoni i Math (Anthony the Great), of the sixteenth century has preserved the altar to the east as well as in use in Byzantine architecture.
The Monastery of the Basilian Fathers (Skliza) of the Byzantine Rite is it in a panoramic spot over the town, you can admire some mosaic works by Spiridione Marino (Dhoni), a local Albanian artist. From here, it is also worth having a look at the valley below.
The town preserves unique Easter traditions, held every year according to a typical itinerary: first of all is the Divine Liturgy, where the Gospel is read in seven languages, including Arabic. After the religious ceremony, there is a procession through the main street, all the women and several men dress in traditional Arbëresh costume, the procession leads to the square after the blessing the red eggs are distributed as a sign of Christ's resurrection.
The traditional female costume of Piana degli Albanesi, along with language and the Byzantine rite, is one of the most obvious signs of Arbëreshe cultural identity, and is a unique expression of local self-consciousness, which manifests itself in the desire to retain identity and traditions. From the historical point of view Piana degli Albanesi is one of the most notable Arbëresh communities in Arbëria and Sicily. There are several artistic works on the clothes of Albanians of Piana degli Albanesi, including very valuable Vuillier prints of the eighteenth century, and paintings by Ettore De Maria Bergler, partly preserved at the Art Gallery of the monumental complex of Sant'Anna in Palermo and other private prints, postcards and watercolors by unknown authors. Both the former, together with numerous additional representations portray and demonstrate the incomparability of the costume of Piana degli Albanesi.
The clothes, linked to the various moments of women's lives, from everyday life to marriage, punctuated the rhythms of social tradition of the past. Handed down from mother to daughter, and zealously preserved, they are no longer clothes, but costumes. The progressive loss of this link began in the 1940s, when after the war in Europe there was a need for more practical clothing.
The opulent and elegant clothes have preserved intact their special character, and are worn on special occasions such as baptisms, Epiphany, Easter and especially marriage, continuing to be carefully preserved by the women of Piana degli Albanesi. It costs thousands of euros to make and repair these costumes, and the majority of women use them on these occasions. An epitome of beauty is the bridal costume, which makes it particularly valuable and the religious event of the Byzantine rite. The quality of production is due to the great craftsmanship of the Arbëresh embroiderers in gold and silk wheelwork, velvet and gold (in leads, and lenticciole canatiglie). Embroidery is done using a pillow, a frame or a needle alone.
The traditional female costume of Piana degli Albanesi has been admired through time and consensus. In the competition held in Venice in 1928, in which costume groups from every region of Italy took part, the group from Piana degli Albanesi was awarded first prize, a recognition of their traditional dress as the most sumptuous, rich in design, fabrics and colors out of all the regional competitors.
The most obvious traces of the strong ethnic identity of Piana degli Albanesi is the Albanian language (Arbërisht). It is spoken by all, and can be seen in street names, road signs, and shop signs in the village. The Arbëreshë community has preserved its identity as much as possible. The language shares the widespread language variations seen in southern Albania, mixed at times with Greek phonetics. The language is recognized by the local government and primary schools as a minority ethno-linguistic language. Arbërisht remains the dominant language in the region. Piana degli Albanesi is officially bilingual; the official town documents are written in both Albanian and Italian. The citizens are bilingual, able to use both the Albanian and Italian languages.
The Albanian language is used in radio stations (ex. Radio Hora or Radio Jona), and especially in books and periodicals (ex. Mondo Albanese, Kartularet e Biblos, Albanica, Fluturimi i aikullës, Lajmtari Arbëreshvet or Mirë ditë).
The music and chants of Piana degli Albanesi are deeply tied to religious tradition. The repertoire of sacred songs in Greek and in Albanian language, used throughout the liturgical year of complex and detailed, is very wide. The weekly liturgies, festivals and other officiating are always adorned with a ceaseless flow of melody. The poetic and musical forms are dell'innografia Byzantine liturgical repertory of the museum system is modal theory and follows the Byzantine dell'oktòichos. In addition to these compositions, the prevailing source of educated, there are other evidences of a profane nature, strongly influenced, moreover, of the musical traditions of indigenous origin, it has a large number of popular songs, heritage still very much alive and thriving. The transmission of the songs is, even today, almost entirely through oral tradition. For their documentary value are significant, however, also mentioned the many testimonies pentagram on the manuscript, written, since the beginning of up to 900 times closer to us, priests and monks with the aim of safeguarding the integrity of sacred tradition. The hymns of the Byzantine tradition are performed in celebrations and concerts in the "Corale di San Demetrio" and "Coro dei Papàs di Piana degli Albanesi", while the popular songs from the folk group "Dhëndurët e Arbërit". Among the many heritage, the songs are the most common: Kostantini i vogëlith, Christòs Anèsti, Lazëri, Epi si Chieri, Vajtimet, Simeron Kremate, U të dua mirë, O Zonjë e Parrajsit, Te parkales, Një lule u deja t'isha, Kopile moj kopile, Muaji i mait, Ju lule te këtij sheshi, Trëndafili i Shkëmbit, Lule Borë, Malli çë kam për tij, Përçë ti rron, Perëndesh' e Bukuris, Kur të pash të parën herë, Për Mëmëdhenë, Shkova ka dera jote. The most emblematic songs, one religious and one secular, remain O mburonjë e Shqipëris and O e bukura More.
People from Piana degli AlbanesiEdit
- Luca Matranga (1567–1619), Orthodox priest, writer who gave the official start Albanian literature in diaspora.
- Giorgio Guzzetta (1682–1756), Apostle of the Albanians in Sicily, founder of the "Italo-Albanian Seminary" and priest of Byzantine rite for the sanctity of life and apostolic works memorable.
- Antonio Brancato (1688–1760), Byzantine priest and poet, was one of the most industrious men and benefits, which created the "College" for young Albanian women in Sicily.
- Giuseppe Schirò, (1690–1769) Orthodox clergy, writer and archbishop of Durazzo (Albania) of the 18th century.
- Giorgio Stassi (1712–1801), the first bishop of Greek-Orthodox rite ordaining in Sicily and titular Bishop of Lampsacus.
- Carlo Gliqini (1765-1850), popular poet in the Albanian language.
- Demetrio Camarda (1821–1882), priest of Byzantine rite, Albanian language scholar, historian and philologist.
- Giuseppe Musacchia (1837–1910), priest of Byzantine rite, writer and publicist.
- Nicola Barbato (1856–1923), doctor and politician among the founders of the movement of the Fasci Siciliani Workers.
- Zef Schirò (1865–1925), poet, historian, linguist, publicist and Albanian patriot, most representative of the Albanian literary and cultural traditions of Sicily.
- Paolo Schirò (1866–1941), bishop of the Orthodox rite of Albanians in Sicily, publicist, translator, writer and albanologist, best known for discovering the Meshari libre of Gjon Buzuku.
- Nilo Borgia (1870–1942), monk of Byzantine rite, bibliophile, philologist, writer and theologian.
- Gaetano Petrotta (1882–1952), priest of Byzantine rite, philologist and albanologist, Albanian Language and Literature professor at the University of Palermo.
- Sepa Petta (1882–1959), priest of Byzantine rite and doctor of phytotherapy, teacher of faith, traditions and language of the Arbëreshë people.
- Marco Petta (1921–2007), monk of Byzantine rite in Grottaferrata, writer and theologian.
- Stefano Plescia (1921–2013), priest of Byzantine rite, writer, promoter and lover of the Albanian culture.
- Ercole Lupinacci (1933), bishop of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi and Lungro of the Italo-Albanian Church.
- Sotir Ferrara (1937), bishop of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi of the Italo-Albanian Church.
- Giuseppe Schirò Di Maggio (1944), poet, journalist, essayist, playwright and writer, among the most influential and prolific exponents of contemporary Arbëreshë literature.
- Marco La Piana (1883-1958), scholar
One of the main local resources is made from tourism, but because of the vast areas devoted to agriculture and its climate, its economy is based primarily on the production of dairy products, cereals, olive oil, wine and fruit, and by herds of sheep, cattle and goats. The office and industrial sector is thriving, the country is precisely known for the presence of accommodation such as guesthouses and restaurants that specialize in preparing dishes of those particular goods
A prestigious tradition also belongs to art and craft, including Byzantine style icons created according to the traditional canons. Modern painters of icons (religious pictures on wood) draw inspiration from Byzantine art and spirituality. Even after some centuries, they keep the tradition going in the community of Piana degli Albanesi, and are interpreters of techniques, stylist characters and use of materials, according to every detail established for centuries about this kind of art: the position of the figures, the symbolic gesture, the choice of the colours.
Embroidered with meticulousness elegant women's costumes Arbëreshë in almost continuous production for over five centuries. Other local artists are skilled goldsmiths, especially for production of costume accessories, mosaicists and craftsmen who work with local marble.
Within the confines of Piana degli Albanesi, in Contrada Sant'Agata (Shënt Arhta in Albanian), the remains of an early Christian necropolis of late Roman age, called Pirama, were brought to light in 1988. Evidence of ancient and modern cultural richness of the area, currently subject to archaeological research center.
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- (Italian) DE PLANAE ALBANENSIUM VIRIS ILLUSTRIBUS: Personaggi illustri, Comune di Piana degli Albanesi (Accessed October 31, 2010)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Piana degli Albanesi.|
- Jemi - Il portale degli Arbëreshë (Italian)
- Official site of Piana degli Albanesi (Italian)
- Liturgical portal of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi (Italian)
- Mirë ditë - Information magazine of cultural at Piana degli Albanesi (Italian)