There are many towns within a roughly 20 mile radius of Sicily's capital, Palermo. No doubt, each of them is unique in its own way, but the most special of all of these has to be Piana degli Albanesi. The majority of the 6000 or so inhabitants of this town, which perches on the slopes of Mount Pizzuta, speak -as their mother tongue - a form of the Albanian language known as "Arbëreshë". Distinct from Albanian spoken in Albania itself, the language spoken in Piana is closer to Tosk than Gheg.
Many of the inhabitants who live in Piana degli Albanesi are descendants Albanians who fled from the Balkans in the 15th century when the Ottoman Turks invaded their homes. More than 500 years later, the Arbëreshë people in Piana not only use the language of their forefathers but also preserve much of their traditions, culture, and religious practices. Many of the decendants of the Albanians living in Piana degli Albanesi and the 4 other surviving communities set up by the Albanians seeking refuge from the Ottomans (Contessa Entellina, Mezzojuso, Palazzo Adriano, and S Cristina Gela) worship in churches following the Eastern Orthodox rites, but regard their 'Greco-Byzantine' or 'Eastern Catholic' church as being within the folds of the Vatican; they regard the Pope as their religious leader.
Adam Yamey recently stayed in Piana degli Albanesi, and explored the history and culture of the Arbëreshë people. By meeting and discussing matters with a number of informative and extremely hospitable people in Piana and elsewhere, he was able to amass a great deal of information about the Albanians who adopted Sicily as their new home and their descendants. They told him about their origins, their religion, their culture, and their tragic involvement with the Mafia.
Adam's recently published personal travelogue, in which he describes all 5 of the Arbëreshë towns in Sicily, is full of illustrations and maps, and is called: From Albania to Sicily.
Adam Yamey in Viale Scanderbeg in S Cristina Gela
Read From Albania to Sicily and learn about the importance of the Arbëreshë in Garibaldi's conquest of Sicily that led to the liberation of Sicily as well as what happened to the Mafia after Mussolini visited Don Ciccio, the one-time Mafia mayor of Piana degli Albanesi. Discover the secrets of making the best cannoli in Italy and why the town of Palazzo Adriano was a star in the movie Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. Learn about the inner meanings of icons and what happens on Ascension Day in Piana. These and many more fascinating topics, including the tragic events that occurred on the 1st May 1947 at Portella della Ginestra, fill the pages of Adam's book.
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