Civic Institutions: Territories Surrounding Poggioreale

THE TERRITORY SURROUNDING POGGIOREALE

Common Properties

From counsel resolution number 4 of May 30, 1863, we know that the Town had the property rights to common lands that were formerly feudal properties. Sparacia, Mandra di Mezzo, Dagala della Donna, Gazzetta Molini and its adjacent lands. In the resolution cited above, which was taken with great urgency, and provided for a petition to the acting Civil Magistrate for the confirmation of the above-mentioned lands, and it reports that the lands were taken from Poggioreale by the powerful baronial hand. In order to give strength to their petition, tire town recalled their resolution number 14 of March 18, 1863, indicating article 8, as well as the resolution of August 1, 1862, where it was proposed to send a person to Palermo, in the interest of the Town to fetch the relevant titles from the Great Archive of the Notary General. The Mayor of Poggioreale was given the authorization to institute Judgment according to the rights of the Town. The person chosen to go to Palermo was Attorney Giuseppe Scardino… No subsequent information is found in the existing documents of our town. The Territory in town to the north which is left to the common use is little more than 2 hectares.

The external territory includes the expanse of 3608.75.60 hectares. In 1873, Poggioreale had 1063 hectares in its surrounding area. In fact, there is an interesting resolution dated November 1, 1873 which recalls the previous resolution number 32 of July 24, 1873, in which it is asked that the extended territory be officially recognized as conceded to Poggioreale, in accordance with the Royal Decree of February 12, 1852, when the Sovereign Authorities promulgated the law that modified the territorial circumstances of Monreale and of the other neighboring communities, to provide for their economic needs. The lands assigned to Poggioreale by the above Royal Decree, and that the Town asked for in its resolutions, were the following: Marcanza, Marcanzotta, Ravanusa, Torretta di Ravanusa, Cancelliere di Ravanusa, Montagnola, Strasatto Manganello, the former feudal estate Cautali Mule, Carbone, Bonfalcone, Strasatto, the former feudal estate of Eusebia, Balata, Balatotta, Catalase bridge, Renelli, Ponte Carcia, Cautali Sessa and Corridore. Lands that are specified on the map drawn by order of the Royal Government, attached to the Royal Decree.

The Administration kept the issue alive until the resolution of December 6, 1905, when the Mayor was entrusted to go personally to Rome with the goal of presenting the important cause in favor of the Town. It seems that the practice was put to rest in that year, according to the counsel resolution of October 1, 1905, which tells that they had almost given up hope… As of today, there has been a partial concession, for which the territory of 1063 hectares has become 3,608 hectares.

Nevertheless, contrary to the Decree cited above, Poggioreale still lacks these lands: Tenuta Cannova, Bonfacone, Carcia, Rinelli upper and lower, Balata grande, Balatotta, Montagnola, Ponte Calatrasi, Cancelliere, Torretta di Ravanusa, Ravanusa; and rising from the Bivio Guglia along the east side, from the trail for Alcamo and up to Ravanusa, the lands of Trento, Giammartino, Mondello and Costa di Cento, which should necessarily fall within the Poggiorealese campagna.

In truth, the resolution of July 24, 1873, delimits the territory of its east side to border with Belice on the left, corresponding to the natural border of this territory which was the ancient land of the Elimi. This land bordering its east side with Belice is the center of Mount Elimo. Counsel Resolutions number 3 and 72 of January 30 and September 1, 1864 are thorough and strong.

The extension to 3,608 hectares is restricted enough considering that the agricultural Poggiorealesi are obliged to plant lands in the bordering territories, that is of Monreale, Contessa Entellina, Santa Margherita Belice, which means in the territories of Palermo and of Agrigento. Ours is a narrow territory, while Poggioreale is an agricultural town in the purest sense of the word; in fact, farmers form the majority of the population.

From an important report entitled: “necessary territorial rectification between the provinces of Trapani and Palermo,” which appeared in the first issue of the Monthly Trapani Province Magazine, May 15, 1956, which states with satisfaction that the age-old problem has been proposed to the Presidency of the Region of Sicily for the necessary, desired provision.

Now among the communities called to take advantage of the necessary territorial enlargement which cuts the very extensive territory of Monreale, Poggioreale is first among them; a town that, in its time, with counsel resolution number 14, of March 24, 1956, re-opened the important question, renewing the demand for the lands with insistent requests that for more than a century had been repeatedly made. A competent Authority will be needed to render justice to the honest requests of towns that feel the urgent need to provide its citizens increased territory for agricultural work, as well as relief for distressed financial resources.

The requested provision should succeed in the judicial administration, a provision that certainly interests the Honorable Provincial Administration of Trapani and justifies the request to rectify the provincial borders.

The town of Poggioreale rests on solid land, this was proven during the earthquake of 1890, which was certainly felt, but did not knock down a single building, although traces of it remained in the cracks in some structures; this is not the case in the territory. Telluric surprises were not lacking if we look at the cracks of the Casteldaccio (Mount Elimo) on the north-north east side.

If we stop to study the valley that separates Cautali grande from Cautali piccolo, we note a very deep fissure running from the north to the south of the two mountain ranges, toward the valleys, which while sinking has left steep, exposed land. The most important discovery in the valley is of abundant fossilized oysters. Who left them there? Should we believe that the valley was an inactive volcanic crater, or the bottom of an immersed sea? Those discoveries, I think, favor the latter hypothesis. And if the word “immersion” does not impress, ask yourself: how do we explain that in the area of Gimmartino, on the north-northwest of Poggioreale, the water of those wells has a salty taste? Why is there an abundance of smooth round stones, fruit of the flow of waters, found on the surface, there in that plane?

[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: https://www.amazon.com/History-Poggioreale-Sicily-1640-1956/dp/1072403374/ ]