sicilianità: noun ~ the state of being Sicilian.  Being from the island or nation of Sicily. Descending from natives of Sicily.  Sicilian-ness.
This page celebrates the history, culture, language, and people of Sicily: Sicilia; Trinacria; Magna Graecia; Persephone's Island; Isola di Proserpina; land of legends; fountain of poetry; gem of the Mediterranean; 'the dawn place'; the place where Spring is born.

I have created the page because when I proudly reveal my ancestry, I resent the smirks of non-Sicilians, including northern Italians, implying that I am what I am not.  I created it because I am saddened that other Sicilian-Americans, too many of whom know nothing of Sicilian culture, choose to glorify the tiny percentage of their
paisani who achieved dubious fame through torture, murder and cowardly extortion.

I created it because 'sugnu urgugliusu d'essiri sicilianu' ~ I'm proud to be Sicilian!!



     A strong Sicilian advocate, Professor Gaetano Cipolla has written a beautiful treatise on being Sicilian.  Portions are excerpted or paraphrased below.  For the full booklet, in paperback or on Kindle, go to

What Makes a Sicilian?

. . . Sicily and Sicilians do not enjoy a good reputation. In the United States, or in any other part of the world for that matter, when people hear the name of Sicily, images of mayhem and violence are inevitably displayed before their mind’s eye and knife-wielding villains with dark hair stand ready to do mischief against law and order. The media has portrayed Sicilians so exclusively as belonging to the Mafia that the two nouns go together linguistically like “bread and butter”.

The mafioso’s modus operandi has been extended to all Sicilians and they are seen as greedy and ruthless individuals. Many actually believe that Sicilians carry the seeds of criminality and lawlessness in their blood. The gulf between real Sicilians and the image concocted by the media is very wide indeed . . .

The fact that many Sicilians share a substratum of values
which has spawned such a dreadful organization, however, should not be used as an indictment of the vast majority of Sicilians who are an energetic, talented and industrious people whose positive personal values far outweigh the negative. The mafia, if you were to assign a value to it in the large picture of Sicilian contributions to Western civilization, would be no more than a perversion, a wayward path that issues out of the main lane, a deviation at a crossroads. As such it should not be allowed to stand as a stigma, as an all-encompassing blot that defines everything else Sicilian.

Sicilians have contributed a great deal to Western civilization in every field. A great number of important tools, inventions and products were introduced into Sicily and were exported eventually into Europe. The sun dial, Arabic numbers, silk, different citrus fruits, sugar cane, cotton, rice, and ice cream, to mention a few things, found their way to Europe through Sicily.

They have excelled in poetry so much so that a popular Sicilian saying declares to the world "Cu voli puisia vegna in Sicilia, ca teni la bannera da vittoria" (Whoever wants poetry, let him come to Sicily which holds the banner of victory). . . .
The Sicilian School [of poetry]
was responsible for invent
ing a new literary language that launched Italian literature. . . .

In philosophy, because of the special aptitude of Sicilians for arguing, Cicero believed that rhetoric was born in Sicily. . . . .

In science, Archimedes of Siracusa was probably the greatest mind of the ancient world: he calculated the value of Pi, and devised a way to burn Roman ships in the harbor by directing the sun's rays on them with huge metal reflectors. He is the scientist who while taking a bath realized the principle of water displacement by a solid body and started run
ning naked through the streets of Siracusa, shouting "Eureka! Eureka!" (I've found it!). The legend says he was so engrossed in his calculations that he did not even see the Ro­man soldier who slew him. . . .

In politics and government, the Normans created the first centralized and absolute government in Europe. and Frederick II, "stupor mundi" [wonder of the world] strove to make his beloved Sicily a model for all other parts of his empire to imitate. . . .

In art, Antonello da Messina introduced oil painting to the Italian Renaissance. . .

Sicilians have been first at many things . . . the first volcanologist . . . the first solar clock . . . the first modern state . . . the first map of the world . . . ice cream . . .
the first census in history . . . the first European studies of China and the Orient . . . the first labor union . . . . 

Cipolla gives many more instances, with details.  He concludes:

It would be so much more rewarding, and so much closer to the truth, if instead of Sicily as a mafia-infested island, you thought of it as the place where the bougainvillea bloom the year round, where the smell of orange-blossom is an aphrodisiac, where the scent of jasmine is strong and fills the nights.

Think of it as a place that gave Europe a taste for "sanguinelli,"—the blood oranges that grow only there—a place that made things sweet when the Arabs began to cultivate on its soil, that made it possible for Europeans to wrap their bodies in the luxurious feel of silk. Think of Sicily as the place where spring is born when Pluto releases Persephone from her infernal captivity!

Think of it as the German Romantic poet Wolfgang Goethe did, who wrote in his diary: "Italy without Sicily leaves no trace upon the soul. Sicily is the key to everything."
Wikipedia Italy states: The term sicilianità features, along with 'Sicilianu', the Sicilian language - that character attributed to natives of Sicily, that is tyypical of Sicily.  Also known as sicilitudine, or, citing Leonardo Sciascia:
"The essence of the notion of Sicily that is at once commonplace and prosaic, but at the same time reason for unique and deep inspiration in literature and art."
  ~ The Lady of the Wheel (La Ruotaia), my first book, inspired by my genealogical research of Sicilian families.  It's a historical novella about foundlings and sulfur mine workers in 1860s Racalmuto, a town in central Sicily.

Other "Sicilian Studies"


Coniglio Family Origins
Alessi and Abate Origins

Robertsdale  I & II Buffalo

North Collins


1 2 3 4
La Bedda Sicilia
SICILIAN LINKS Sicilianità Is Sicily 'Italy'? The Sicilian Languge
Cognomi ~ Sicilian Surname Origins Ngiurii ~ Sicilian Nicknames Place-names as surnames Sicilian Coats of Arms
Foundlings The Sicilian Naming Convention

Given Names

Convert Latin given names to Sicilian
La Bedda Sicilia ~ My history of Sicily Heritage Path ~ original Sicilian records Civil Record Format ~ 1820 - 1910 I'm a Sicilian American
My Lectures on Sicilian Genealogy Sicilian Occupations in Civil Records Sicilian Records at the Buffalo FHC Orphans, Illegitimates, and Foundlings
Li Carusi ~ The Mine-boys Shortened Sicilian Given Names There is no letter "j" in Sicilian The Thing
  Womens' Surnames Masculine and Feminine Names  

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