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Villafranca Sicula, Province of Agrigento, Sicilia

Situated on the San Calogero hill, it is a thriving agricultural center, just over 60 Km from Agrigento.

Info

  • Altitude: 326 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 1400 inhabitants in 2010
  • Zip/postal code: 92020
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0925
  • Patron Saint: St. Eucarpio, celebrated on 18 March

History

The area was originally inhabited by the Sicani, driven to the center-west of the island by the Siculi, a warrior people from the peninsula, and by the Elimi coming from today's Turkey. The territory was donated in 1308 by Count Roger Archimandrite of Messina, together with the hamlet of Rahal Afdal (today Raffadali), which passed to Antonio Peralta in 1448 and then to the Alliata family from Pisa; Prince Antonio Alliata founded "Viliafranca" on September 27, 1499, thanks to a "Licentia populandi" released by viceroy Giovanni La Nuzza.

The name came either by a tax exemption granted to the people who settled in the new village, or from a land-surveyor to the service of the Alliata whose name was Calcerano Viliafranca. The new village was inhabited by a colony of workers coming from Salaparuta, previously founded also by the Alliata family.

What to see

  • The remains of the Castle of the Alliata princes (16th century)
  • The Parish church (whose origins date back to 1540), in the form of a basilica with three naves, destroyed by an earthquake in 1968 and reopened for worship in 2008.
  • The clock tower, located in the center of the Corso, attached to the Parish church and the Alliata palace, which is equipped with a pendulum clock with three bronze bells minted by the famous foundry Virgadamo of Burgio.
  • Villa Musso, in the middle of a hill just outside the village, called also "Casina", now owned by the City but originally a countryside mansion of Baron Giuseppe Antonio Musso (1860 -1922), a philanthropist, who bequeathed the villa to the poor families of Villafranca Sicula.
  • The murals, made in 1991 by painter Giovanni Smeraldi, consisting of four large paintings representing the traditions of the area.

Genealogy & Links