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Personalities–› G. Saitta, A. Spedalieri, P De
prodigy of knowledge and wise universal genius
Saitta, (Bronte 31 January 1768 - Patti 20 June 1838), bishop of
Patti, was a profound connoisseur of the theological and
philosophical disciplines, jurist, poet and appreciated composer
and musician, a very good harpsichord and organ player.
defined by his contemporaries as a prodigy and a master of
knowledge and a most wise universal genius.
He began his first
studies at Bronte in the College recently founded by Capizzi and
from 1780 he continued to Monreale where he specialized in canon
law, civil law, ecclesiastical history and music, which was his
passion and where he was a professor of literature.
he studied jurisprudence and perfected himself in music.
in Bronte he devoted himself to the works of St. Augustine and
St. Thomas and to English literature, and founded a philharmonic
society he himself directed.
He was a very valuable speaker,
poet, theologian, philosopher and a great connoisseur of Roman
law and foreign languages and literature.
On the left the bishop of
Patti (Messina), Monsignor Giuseppe Saitta. in a drawing taken
from the book of Gesualdo De Luca "History of the town of Bronte".
Under the bishop's coat of arms of Patti
follower of his, the cardinal.
Antonino Saverio De Luca, said about him: "Of how many
illustrious men I have known, nobody, I have met superior to the
Saitta for intelligence height and for various and deep
He was above all a
great teacher and brought a real renewal in teaching and culture
before, since 1817, in Monreale (at the time known as the Athens
of Sicily), where he taught literature and held the position of
Director of Studies from 1822 and then, from 1832 to 1833, in
Capizzi College where he taught Latin and Greek and who also
served as Rector (he had also been in 1820).
Gesualdo De Luca
(History of the City of Bronte, 1883) writes that
«Mons. Fr Benedetto Balsamo, Archbishop of Monreale, hearing that he
had preached it in Palermo, called him to himself in that Seminary
full of great and talented men, such as the Zerbo, the Guardi, the
Caruso. At first he was Professor of literature, then of revealed
theology, and he gave him the position of Director of Studies.
Di Carlo (Nicolo Di Carlo, canon, his disciple and
biographer) proletely narrates how wisely the Saitta in
theology lessons grafted questions of philosophy and other
sciences: and in what capacity as Director of the studies,
he promoted the culture; and how to entice young people's
spirits he never insisted on explaining the rules of the
thing (mediocre quality says Di Carlo) but he took away from
commenting a classic text of some sum and made him admire.»
Concorde with the thought of Nicola
Spedalieri, Giuseppe Saitta was a partisan of democracy
and always advocate of the rights of the Brontesi in the
centuries-old struggle undertaken against the continuing
harassment and usurpation of the Palermo Hospital before and
the Dukes Nelson later.
Canon of the Collegiate Church of Monreale from 25 February
1834, on the proposal of Ferdinand II of Bourbon, was
appointed on 30 September of the same year by Gregory XVI
bishop of Patti (on the right the coat of arms of Bishop of
Patti), where he left with his perennial works memory and
where four years later, on 20 June 1838, he died.
The learned, the lords, the same court often turned to him
as an oracle for advice and precepts.
At Patti he completed the seminary factory, he had the
chapel built at his own expense and he increased and
nobilized his studies; he created by putting a pawnshop on
his funds. In the same city he died on 20 June 1838.
Many who had him as a teacher wrote proud of him. One of his
disciples, Nicolò Di Carlo, speaks of this:
«The merit of him true, intrinsic, absolute, shone with his
own light, and all of his own, neither he was relative to
the humble place, where he lived. If he had flourished not
in Sicily, not among the solitary scenes of the little
Monreale, but in London, in Paris, in Rome, wherever it
would have been great and marvelous.» ("Works", From the
printing house of Morvillo, Palermo 1849)
An illustrious disciple of Monsignor Saitta,
Cardinal Antonino Saverio De Luca,
said of him: «I have met many illustrious men, no one, I
have met superior to the Saitta for height of ingenuity and
for varied and profound doctrine».
«There is a legend," wrote
Giuseppe Cimbali, "that his mother, one day, while still
holding him in her bosom, felt her voice high; she was
terrified; but, then, by the unanimous consent of all, he
drew from this fact a glorious wish: that son would be a
great; and it was.»
The bishop of Patti
The bishop of Patti, mgr. Giuseppe Saitta portrayed in some
paintings: the first painting, preserved in the Real Collegio
Capizzi, dates back to 1838: a written below reads: «Ingenium moresque probos sophiamque requires[que] / invenis hac
Joseph presulis effige».
This is certainly a copy of the other painting (in the center)
that is found in the sacristy of the Cathedral of Patti,
together with other 21 paintings of Bishops who have succeeded
in the government of the Diocese.
In the third picture Mons. Saitta is portrayed by Agostino
Attinà (1874) among the "illustrious Men of Bronte". The
engraving at the top next to the title is taken from the book by
G. De Luca "Storia della Città di Bronte" (1883)
He characterized the science combined with love for the next sick
Arcangelo Spedalieri, (Bronte 1779 - Alcamo 1823), a doctor in
medicine and surgery, was a great physiologist and an
illustrious anatomist. Benedetto Radice called him "the
Sicilian Hippocrates, honor and pride of the universities of
Bologna and Pavia".
Niece of Nicola Spedalieri, he
began his first studies in Bronte nel Collegio recently founded
by Ignazio Capizzi to continue them in Palermo where, graduated,
remained for three or four years that were the prelude in the
exercise of that profession in which he had to touch the
Abandoned Sicily stopped shortly in Naples, Rome, Florence and
reached the learned Bologna who, at that time was still "the
alma mater studiorum". Here he did not struggle to make himself
known: at the age of 29 he is already an assistant at the
University's medical clinic.
In Bologna he began to dictate the first lessons in zoology and
mineralogy, but he did not live there much, and because of his
growing aspirations, he preferred to go to Pavia to complete his
studies. Here he perfected his studies with Count Pietro Moscati,
of which he became an assistant and a friend, and held the
teaching of Physiology and Medical Anatomy from 1813 to 1821.
He soon became known throughout Italy, becoming one of the most
renowned doctors, for his vast doctrine and the readiness and
security of the diagnosis but also for the many students who
attended his lectures. He was gentlemanly in his manners, a
powerful person, and his physical prowess, combined with
knowledge and integrity of character, exerted an irresistible
charm, especially on youth.
On the left, the'"
Sicilian Hippocras", the physiologist Arcangelo Spedalieri in
an old drawing taken from the book by G. De Luca "History of the
City of Bronte", and (on the right) from "Uomini
illustri" of Agostino Attinà.
At the age of 40, he was at the height of his career. Between
1815 and 1817 he also taught medical police, and in 1817 he
became a professor of physiology and anatomy; he was rector of
the university in the biennium 1819-20.
In 1820 he married Giuseppina Lesperon, intelligent, cultured,
with fine feelings, from whom he had a son, Giuseppe.
Forced, too, to be absent from Pavia city because he was called
elsewhere to give his healthy advice, in 1823 he returned to
Sicily, from which he had been absent for many years.
He was invited to Alcamo for a consultation. And there, at the
age of 44, while restoring health to others, her life was
suddenly cut short by a deadly infirmity. On 6 May 1823,
a stroke in fact caused his death, leaving unfortunately
incomplete one of his treaties that had cost him 15 years of
He was buried in the same city of Alcamo. Arcangelo Spedalieri
personified the science combined with love for the next sick; he
was the author of prestigious medical and natural sciences
Principal Works: "Memories on
the analogy between the vegetal and the animal life",
Milano 1802, "Memory of animal physics", Milano 1806;
"Pathologic reflections on the stomach' break", Pavia 1815.