Piana degli Albanesi

Piana degli Albanesi

Infobox CityIT
img_coa =
official_name = Comune di Piana degli Albanesi
name = Piana degli Albanesi
region = flagicon|Sicily Sicily
province = Palermo (PA)
elevation_m = 725
area_total_km2 = 64
population_as_of = 2001
population_total = 6227
population_density_km2 = 97
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|38|0|N|13|17|E|region:IT_type:city(6227)
frazioni =
telephone = 091
postalcode = 90037
gentilic = Pianesi
saint = St. George
day = April 23
mayor = Gaetano Caramanno (since May 28, 2002)
website = [http://www.pianalbanesi.it/ www.pianalbanesi.it/]

Piana degli Albanesi is an Italian "comune" in the Province of Palermo, Sicily. It has 6,227 inhabitants as of 2001.

The town is known for being principally an Arbëreshë community, and is called Hora e Arbëreshëvet or Hora Sheshi Oána in the residents' own dialect of Albanian. The inhabitants have their origin in the Albanian town of Himarë and the Greek town of Corone.


The town was founded on 30 August 1488 by refugees from the region of Himarë, Albania.

In 1482-1485 a Turkish attack forced these families to Adriatic coast where they hired ships from Venice and escaped by sailing to northern Sicily. They apparently were housed in temporary camps somewhere near city of Palermo until about 1486 or 1487, when they then applied to Cardinal Giovanni Borgia, Archbishop of Monreale, for the right to make permanent settlement on his fiefs of Merku and Daidingli, known as the "Plain of the Archbishop" in the mountains above the city of Palermo. The official concession of land was granted to the settlers in 1488.

In 1534 another group of families, known as the 'Coroni', settled in the village. They were Arvanites and Greeks from the Venetian fortress of Corone in the Peloponnese region of southwestern Greece.

King John II of Spain 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". The italian name was changed to Piana degli Albanesi in 1941, at a time when Mussolini had incorporated Albania into a Greater Italy which was at war with Greece.


The most important churches are the Cathedral Church of "Shën Mitrit Deshmor i Math" (St. Demetrius Megalomartyr) of the Arbëresh rite dating back to 1590; the church of "Shën Mëris e Dhitrjës" (St. Mary of Odigitria) built in 1644 according to architect Pietro Novelli's plan; and the church of "Shën Gjergjit" (St. George), the oldest in the town.

There is also a Roman Catholic church, the "Klisha e Shëndo Vit" (St. Vitus) which dates to 1514, with an imposing portal.


Piana degli Albanesi is officially bilingual, as the official town documents are written in both Arbërisht and Italian and its citizens are trilingual, proficient in both languages as well as the local Sicilian dialect. However, the local dialect of Arbërisht is undergoing attrition with children learning Arbërisht as their first language and being more confident using Arbërisht, then by school leaving age are more comfortable with Italian and are able to express a wider range of concepts in Italian. This attrition may be due to the lack of formal education in Arbërisht and the lack of Albanian media.

ome common phrases


The town has a unique Easter Festival tradition which takes place according to a peculiar itinerary: at the entrance to the town, two locals dressed in traditional costume receive visitors and give them some coloured eggs. Later follows the Divine Liturgy and during the service the Gospel is read in seven different languages, among them, Arabic. At the end of the church service, there is a procession through the town streets, with everyone dressed in traditional costume.

The Traditional Costume

In more than five centuries of arbëreshë presence in Sicily, the traditional female costume has undergone various transformations that make it difficult to reconstruct its origins. Prints of Houel and Vuiller have been very useful iconographic sources through archives which document the use of the costume since the sixteenth century), these prints have enabled arbëreshë ethnologists to trace the prototypes of the costumes.At the end of 700 using traditional female Apparel is also documented in Palazzo Adriano. There is, however, sufficient evidence to determine whether the costumes have a common origin refers to Albania of the fifteenth and sixteenth or the land of emigration.Until the end of th 17th century the use of traditional female costime is also documented in Palazzo Adriano. There is not, however, sufficient evidence to determine whether the costumes have a common origin in Albania of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries or in other parts of Epirus.The clothes, tied to the various moments of life for women, marked the rhythms of social tradition of the past. Even if handed down from mother to daughter and jealously preserved, they lost their link with the events; No more clothes, but costumes. The progressive loss of this relationship began by the 20th century onwards, when Europe introduced new fashionable clothes.After 1940 women were wearing traditional costumes (except the daily one) only on special occasions such as baptisms, marriages and especially the Epiphany and Easter. Only the wedding dress has retained its specific use.

Wedding Gown

Widely preferred than the common white dress and worn only by brides is the wedding gown that lacks the cape but supplemented by sleeves embroidered with gold and fifteen green tufts also embroidered in gold, a cream-colored veil and head-dress (symbol of family responsibility). The "keza" or skirt, made of red silk velvet and embroidered with gold patterns. Until the first half of the 20th century, a dress in brocade damask, sometimes replaced the embroidered silk.

Typical Products

Particular are handicraft products such as golden embroideries, puppets in Albanian-costume, icons, painting on cloth and artistic pottery articles.


* StrangujëtA form of Gnocchi called Strangujtë made with flour by hand, flavoured with tomato sauce (lënk) and Basil. Traditionally this dish was consumed by families seated around a floor level table of wood (zbrilla) on the 14th September, the 'Festa e Kryqit Shejt' (exaltation of the Cross).

* GrurëtBoiled wheat dish flavored with olive oil, known as cuccìa in the Sicilian language. The tradition is to eat it on Festa e Shën Luçiës. Variations are the use of sweetened milk or ricotta with flakes of chocolate, orange peel and almonds.

* Kanojët
Cannoli, the universally famous Pianotto sweet dish. Its culinary secret is waffle (shkorça) of flour, wine, lard and salt and filled with sweetened ricotta, and lastly sprinkled with sieved chocolate.

* BukëArbëresh bread (bukë) is prepared with local hard grain flour and manufactured to a round and mostly leavened shape with natural methods. It is cooked in antique firewood furnaces (Tandoor). It is eaten warm flavored with olive oil (vaj i ullirit) and dusted with cheese or with fresh ricotta.

* Panarët Arbëresh Easter bread shaped either into a circle or into two large braids and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It is adorned with red Easter eggs. The Easter eggs are dyed deep red to represent the blood of Christ, the eggs also represent new life and springtime. It is traditionally eaten during the Resurrection Meal. After 40 days of fasting - as per the Byzantine Catholic tradition- the Easter feast has to begin slowly, with a light meal after the midnight liturgy on Saturday night. The fast is generally broken with Panarët.

* Loshkat and Petullat Sweetened spherical or crushed shaped fried leavened dough. Eaten on the eve of E Mart e Madh Carnival.

* Të plotitA sweet cake in various shaped with fig marmellade filling, one of the oldest Arbëresh dishes.

* Milanisë Traditionally eaten on the Festa e Shën Zefit and Good Friday, is a pasta dish made with a sauce (lënk) of wild Fennel paste, Sardines and pine nuts.

* Udhose and GjizëHomemade cheese and ricotta normally dried outdoors.

* LikëngëPork sausages flavored with salt, pepper and seed of Fennel (farë mbrai).

* Llapsana Forest Brussel sprout (llapsana) fried with garlic and oil.

* DorëzëtVery thin home-made semolina spaghetti, cooked in milk and eaten on Ascension Day.

* GroshëtSoup made of Fava beans, chickpeas and Haricot beans.

* Verdhët During Easter a kind of pie is prepared with eggs, lamb, ricotta, sheep cheese and(previously boiled) leaf stalks of Scolymus hispanicus; in some villages, the young aerial parts of wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare spp . pipentum) are used instead.


Within the confines of the "comune" is the site of the ancient city of Pirama, currently the focus of archaeological research.


External links

* [http://www.eparchiapiana.it/ Website of the Byzantine Church of Piana]
* [http://www.pianalbanesi.it/ Official site]

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