Sunday, August 24, 2014

Where did they come from: Serradifalco (Sicilian: Serradifarcu)

This Sicilian town is where the Cammarata family made its home in the early 1900's

Serradifalco (from Serra del Falcone, "Mountain of the Falcon") was founded in the Kingdom of Sicily, in a feudal fief which bore the same name since the late 15th century. The town itself was founded in 1640 under permit from King Philip IV of Spain to Maria Ventimiglia, grandmother and governess of Baron Francesco Grifeo, a minor. In 1652, ownership of the Barony and Town passed to the Lo Faso family. In 1666, it became a Duchy under Duke Leonardo Lo Faso, and it remained in control of the House of Lo Faso until the abolition of feudalism in 1812. Its last duke was Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta (1783–1863). His rule was from 1809 through 1812. He was a renowned archaeologist and was instrumental in promulgating the excavation and restoration of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento.

Sulfur mining, in some of the oldest mines in Sicily, and farming were the most prevalent occupations in Serradifalco after the Italian unification in 1860.

Serradifalco was the site of the first bicycle manufacturer in southern Italy, Montante Cicli, which produces one of the world's elite brands of bicycles.

In the great emigration of Sicilians to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Serradifalchesi farm laborers and sulfur miners went to American towns, including Pittston and Robertsdale, where they worked as coal miners; and to the Buffalo, New York area, where they found employment with the steel plants and railroads, and in the strawberry and corn fields.

SERRADIFALCO [Sicilian: SERRADIFARCU] was written by Giuseppe Testa in 1990, to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the town. This link leads to the translation of the book.