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San Fratello (ME)

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San Fratello (Messina Province) is 137 km from Messina, alt. 657 m, in the northern Nebrodi, on a ridge between the Furiano and Inganno torrents, area 67 sq km, pop. 4,960, post-code 98075, tel. 0941. Economy: agriculture, horse-breeding (there is a well-known local breed).

The town was founded by a colony of Lombard settlers led by Adelaide of Monferrato, third wife of Count Roger.
The local dialect still maintains some Gallo-Italian phonemes, as in some other Sicilian localities. It became a fief of the Alagona family, and then of the Oliveris and the Larcans. In 1754 a landslide destroyed the town. In 1922 it was badly damaged by another landslide which obliged many of the inhabitants to move to the nearby town of Acquedolci.

Holy Week sees the occurrence of the celebrated event known as The Judeans of San Fratello and also as The Devils of San Fratello. The men of the town dress up in the colorful constumes with tied-on tails, hide their faces with red masks, and stick out long leather tongues, blaring on trumpets and jangling chains from the early morning, with the purpose of disturbing all religious activity.

But when the Easter procession gets under way, the Judeans/devils recognise their defeat and fall silent.

Of interest: Norman castle

Churches (Patti Diocese) include the following:
Maria SS. Assunta (Chiesa Madre)
Convent of San Francesco (historic)
S. Maria Delle Grazie
San Nicolo' Di Bari

Families researched in these records include the following:
Del Santo
La Maria

Links to other sites about San Fratello include:
Messina Province

My latest book on CD is titled Sicily, Part 1 and Part 2 is now available on 2 CDs. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

Italy Kathy Kirkpatrick

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© Kathy Kirkpatrick 1997-2015