Normans, Svevi, Angioini, Aragonesi, Albanians
The Holy War, having as end also the conquest of Sicily,
was completed by the Arabs in 902, exactly after 75 years.
Since that moment and up to 1038, the Arabs were the uncontested masters
of the island with alternate lucks.
Subsequently to the Arabs, were the Normans, coming from Denmark
and the Scandinavian peninsulas, to land in the island and dominate it for
over two centuries.
The Normans, taken up arms against the Byzantines of Italy, took away in 1042
part of Puglia and Calabria. Therefore, in 1060, they passed to the
conquest of the Arab Sicily , defeating one after the other the Arab
The war lasted for a thirty-year period and the conquest was only
completed in 1090-91.
The Norman Kings gave a big impulse to all the productive activities of
the island, supported the commercial exchanges and protected the studies
and the arts.
Under the Norman kings the territory in Bronte, Maletto, Corvo,
Ròtolo, Santa Venera, as far as Randazzo, was not part of the state
property, but prerogative of the queen ("dotario").
The town enlarged itself extending up to San Vito, towards the
hills Colla and San Marco, and the SS Maria of the Rosary church,
becoming a true and real little city.
About at the year 1174, for express wish of the queen mother,
Margherita of Navarra, the king Guglielmo II (the good one) had, on
the ruins of the Basilian hermitage containing the icon of the Virgin
With The Child, founded about 1040 by the Byzantine Giorgio Maniace, a
Benedictine monastery built under the title of Santa Maria Of Maniace.
The monastery, with diploma of March 1st, 1174, depended from the
Messina Diocese and, in 1178, from Monreale.
Guglielmo II died in 1189 without leaving heirs therefore to the
Svevi was offered the opportunity to take possession of the
Having become masters of the island, they governed from
1194 to 1268, especially with Federico II, very cultured and
definite man of open intelligence, "the first modern sovereign of
Europe" and best king of Sicily that he used to call "pupil of my
Their successors were the Angioini until 1282 and, finally, the
Aragonesi from 1296 to 1516, able only to get rich at the already
poor population's expense.
The emigration from Sicily, which will become like an incurable sore
in the body of the island's population, did not begin until the middle
Strangely in that period our island became the "promised
land" of another people:the Albanians, the only people which did
not come to conquer it and dominate it but to find their refuge, work
With the conquest by the Turkish and Ottoman
part of Constantinople,
ancient Byzantium, in the 15th century, only the Albanians were
resisting to the invasion, so becoming the last bulwark of Christendom
in Europe, being of Greek-Catholic rite.
After the death of Giorgio Castriota (nicknamed Skanderbeg) the exodus
from Albania, begun in dribs and drabs around 1448, got more solid
and, starting from 1468 to 1491, above all towards Sicily, where the
feudatories, having increased the grain price, were encouraging
Bronte accepted in that period a large
representation of Albanian citizens'.
Most of them were coming from the Morea and in Sicily
they found an
adoptive country as they populated
because of wars, earthquakes and plagues.
The "foundation" of Biancavilla dates from 1488 like that of Bronte
which should have happened shortly after as the "Capitoli di fondazione",
lost and the exact date is not known.
In these "Chapters" can be felt a certain benevolence,
by the feudatories and/or clergymen.
The Albanians, in fact, were enjoying a certain freedom: they could move
from a site to another; sell its possessions; have its own officers and
priests; did not have to submit to oppressions.
Of the uses and customs or the Albanian religion very little has
remained in our territory; only some surname is indicative of Albanian
origin (Scafiti, Schiros, Schilirò, Triscari, Zappia), and many typical words of sure Albanian
Benedetto Radice (Historical Memories of Bronte) writes that in
Bronte there was also a church, Santa Maria della Scala,
dedicated to the Patroness of the Albanian colonies, Santa Maria
dell'Odigitria. The ruins of this church (it was the church of the
Casale di Santa Maria della Scala in the district Scalavecchia) are
still visible next to the Provincial Road 211 (Bronte-Ponte Passopaglia).
The Radice also states that it was also called "S. Maria
dell'Odigitria, patron of the Albanian colonies", which is "placed
in the hills near the Piana", and "of which the walls of a rectory
and sacristy still exist".