THE ARBERESH -
Some time back in the 1400s, Albanians being free lance warriors, were hired by the Ruler of Italy to fight on behalf of the Italain Ruling Family.The assistance of the Albanian mercenaries was required by Italy several times.The families of these warriors remained in the Albanian homeland during these wars.
In exchange for their military assistance, the Ruler of Italy gave land grants to the Albanians.Many of these were on the eastern coast of the Italian mainland and several were in Sicily around Piana dei Greci.
Below is the actual history/geography of Piana degli Albanesi (Piana dei Greci) Courtesy of the Arberesh List:
Region of:Sicily Province of: Palermo (PA) Village of: Paina degli Albanesi (Piana dei Greci - prior to 1940) "Hora e Arbereshevet" (in T'Arberesh) "Home of the Arberesh" (English: "Plain of the Albanians", "Plain of the Greeks") Location: 24 kilometers south of city of Palermo, Palermo Province, Sicily.
Physical Features:The village, 720 meters altitude, was built on the southeastern slope of Mount Pizzuta and overlooks a shollow bowl-shaped plain formed by Mounts Pizzuta (1333m), Kumeta (1233m), and several lesser peaks.A man-made lake, Lago di Piana degli Albanesi, a dam, and hydro-electric plant are all sited directly south of the village.
HISTORY:Official founding date:August 30 1488.(May have been settled earlier (1482-1485?)ORIGINAL FAMILIES, according to folk-legends, left from the area of Albania called Himare,(two dots over the e)where they were rebels against Turkish takeover of the area.Part of this group was perhaps also from central Albania, from where they had been displaced earlier, probably some time after 1468.
About 1482-1485 a Turkish attack forced these families to the 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 an dDaidningli, 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 Greco-Albananians and Greeks from the Veneitan fortress of Corone in the Peloponnese region of southwestern Greece
ORIGINAL FOUNDERS/EARLY SURNAMES: Original title holders of the concession of Cardinal Borgia:
Giovanni BARBATO, Pietro BUA, Giogrio GOLEMI, Giovanni SCHIRO, Giovanni MACALUSO, Tomaso TANI, Antoninio ROSCIA, Matteo MAZZA, Teodoro DRAGOTTA, Giorgio BURLESCI, Giovanni PARRINO, Giorgio LASCARI.
Surnames from the RENDA family pedigree chart and the earliest year the name appears on the chart.
ALIA (1710), BARBATO (1623), BELLONE (1719), BENEDETTO (1610), BILLONE (1677), BILLUNI (1606), BONANNO (1677), BRANCATO (1672), BUSCICCHIA (1748), BUSICCHIA(1773), CALDARONE (1640), CALDERONE(1615), CARBONE (1719), CEFFALIA (1792), CHISESI(1629), CIPRIOTTA (1638), CORSO (1742) COSMANO (1733), CRISCIONE (1742), CRISCIUNI (1667), CUCCIA (1629), CUSMANO (1705), D'ALIA (1732), DEBENEDECTO (1635), DEMAGGIO (1624), DIBENEDETTO (1661), DIFRANCISCO (1748), DIMAGGIO (1599), DIMARZO (1657), DINO (1636), DRAGOTTA (1722), FERRARO (1594), FICAROTTA (1658), FIGLIA (1589), FRANCO (1674), FUSCO (1557), GALA/LALA? (1679), GIARDINA (1592), GIARDINO (1610), GUIDARA (1619), GUZZETTA (1592), JULLI/LULLI? (1766), LAGRUPPUSA (1629), LALLA (1650), LAPIANA (1724), LASCARI (1761), LASCARIS (1786), LOJACONO (1665), LOPEZ (1742), MACALUSO (1720), MANDALA (1639), MARCHESE (1628), MATRANGA (1562), MATTISI (1695), MAZZOLA (1720), MECCIA (1587), MONTALBANO (1626), MORINA (1581), MUSACCHIA (1666), NORCIA (1628), PACINO (1611), PALERMO (1784), PAMALONE (1737), PARISSI (1724), PARRINO (1608), PETTA (1607), PRAVATA (1711), RAINERI (1586), RAJNERI (1611), RENDA (1630), RINDINA (1605), RIOLO (1599), RIZZO (1690), SCHILLIZZI (1765), SCHIRO (1587), SCIRCHIA (1770), SIRCHIA (1604), SICARDO (1576), TALENTO (1589), TRAMONTANA (1600), VIRGA (1748), ZAMANDA (1629), ZASSI (1658).
Most Frequent Surnames today: SCHIRO, MATRANGA, CUCCIA, STASSI, MANDALA, RIOLO, PETTA, PARRINO, PLESCIA, CAPACI, SCALIA, LOGRECO, GUZZETTA, PECORARO, ALES, FUSCO, MUSACCHIA, MARINO, ZUCCARO, DORANGRICCHIA, CARBONE, NORCIA, CLESCERI, BORGIA.
This is NOT my family/families but I thought it might help other genealogists out there by providing a little historical background of a certain group in Sicily.What is posted above is all I have.