Civic Institutions: Homeless Shelter


Cavalier Girolamo Naselli, with his last will and testament, dated February 22, 1849, registered in volume 873 file 38 of February 20, 1851, drawn up by Notary Lorenzo Generate of Palermo, established as the heirs of his estate the poor of both sexes, of Gibellina and of Poggioreale, with a legacy of 10 ounces for each.

These goods were administered by the Congregation of San Filippo Neri, in the Church of the Olivella, in Palermo.

After 1868, they were administered by the Commission of Pious Works of Palermo. This Commission, with act of December 12, 1868, taken at the office of the Notary Daddi, in Palermo, registered December 14, 1868, number 23138, volume I, file 73, consigned the documents to the Commission of Gibellina.

In 1887, the Homeless Shelter was established in Gibellina, approved with a Regional decree of May 8, 1890 and made into a Charitable Entity.

With the resolution of January 15, 1891, stipulated between Gibellina and Poggioreale, the above-mentioned estate was divided between the two towns, and the administration of them was independent one from the other. According to the last will and testament of Signor Don Benedetto Mirto of August 24, 1889, Notary Scardino arranged for the foundation of the Hospital bequeathing to the homeless and poor of Poggioreale a part of the estate mentioned here, with the goal of founding a Pious Facility for the Homeless.

The Community of Poggioreale, with resolution number 18 of July 20, 1884, approved the statute for constructing the Homeless Shelter; with another of October 5 of the same year, number 24, which increased the subsidy. Finally, council resolution number 12 of May 23, 1885, conceded the building of the former Convent of the Capuchin Fathers, since at that time the town had the power given it by the Government to establish an eleemosynary institution.

This concession was definitively finalized with council resolution number 19 of November 25, 1888.

The Shelter was duly founded and provided for, and welcomed by the community. It functioned successfully and the poor sheltered there were rather well furnished with room and board and clothing and they were well-treated; in its most active years in this small town, it had 30 residents of both sexes, with a staff and management commensurate with their needs, as well as a uniformed doorman. For several years it has been deserted. Given the improved economic conditions of the town, there have not been new provisions to shelter anyone since no one has asked for shelter.

In her will and testament of March 27, 1889, Signora Rosaria D’ Antoni specified: If the earnings of all my assets bequeathed for the Hospital exceed the sums needed for its Administration, the extra should be given to the Homeless Shelter.

Nevertheless, today the Shelter has no inhabitants; its funds however, are not wasted, but instead are distributed in the form of subsidies to the needy.

[This webpage is excerpted from the book: “The History of Poggioreale, Sicily – From 1640 to 1956.” Originally written in Italian by: Canonico Dottore Francesco Aloisio in 1956. Adapted and translated by: Dr. Jeremiah P. Spence, Ph.D. of Austin, Texas. 5th Edition. International Order of Genealogists Publishing. Ireland. 2019. ISBN: 9781072403371. The book can be purchased online at: ]