The Families of Poggioreale, Sicilia

Piazza Elimo e Matrice, Poggioreale, Sicilia

Poggioreale is a small farming community of about 1800 people located in the inland portion of far western Sicily, in the Italian province of Trapani. Located near the tip of the boot of Italy, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Because of its strategic location and fertile soil, world powers have fought to possess Sicily for centuries.

The name Poggioreale comes from the two Italian words 'poggio', meaning hill and 'reale', meaning royal. The town is located on the southern exposure of Mount Castellazzo, popularly known as Castellaccio, which has been long rumored as the site of an ancient town founded by the Trojans who were fleeing the destruction of their city by the Athenians. Unfortunately this myth has not been substantiated by the several archaeological digs over the years. Nevertheless, the site has a commanding view of the Belice River Valley that the founders from nearby Gibellina considered to be fit for royalty. This photo is a view of the Mother Church, or Matrice, as seen from Piazza Elimo.

Poggioreale was founded in 1642 and suffered extensive damage in the 1968 earthquake which also destroyed the neighboring towns of Salaparuta and Gibellina. The new town of Poggioreale was constructed a few miles to the southeast. Although nothing remains of the old towns of Salaparuta and Gibellina, many buildings still stand in the abandoned Old Poggioreale, making it a popular site for pilgrimages by Poggiorealesi and their descendants around the world.

This website is dedicated to my parents, Judge Robert Lee Lowry and Kitty Higginbotham Lowry, and to the friendly and generous people of the present day town of Poggioreale, to whom I am forever in debt. It is currently (and continuously) under construction by Robert Lowry Jr. of Houston, Texas, USA. My paternal grandparents were Antonino Loria and Anna DeNina, both born in Poggioreale. They raised a family of twelve children in the Brazos River Valley in central Texas, not far from Bryan. This website is part of my attempt to contact, and to create a permanent record of the many families that trace their origins to Poggioreale - families that are now represented in countries throughout the world.

I am also very grateful to the many, many people who have helped this website take shape over the years, most of them also descendants of the brave souls who reluctantly left Poggioreale with the hope of finding a better life.

Many families left Poggioreale around 1800 to settle the new towns of Roccamena and Camporeale, both just a few miles north of Poggioreale. If you are descended from one of these families and would like to exchange family information, please contact me at the address at the bottom of this page.

Reunion 2015 !

The Fifth Reunion of Poggioreale Families is scheduled for
Sunday, August 9th in Bryan, Texas
at the Malinowski Center next to Saint Anthony's Catholic Church
from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

We sold the last ticket on July 20th!
If you'd like to attend, please contact me at the address at the bottom of this page and I'll put you on a waiting list in case of cancellations

We regret that there will be no tickets sold at the door
and because of space constraints, we cannot allow anyone in the hall without a ticket

Our priority for this reunion is to give those families in the Brazos Valley the first opportunity to buy tickets, with special consideration given to those who may not have been able to travel to our Houston reunions. Seating for lunch is limited to 200, so please don't wait too long to buy tickets if you know you would like to attend. Our last two reunions in Houston sold out at 600 and 400 tickets each.

Tickets may be purchased at $10 per person, either by check or by credit card. Please contact
Robert at for more information

As always, we are all volunteers and no one is paid for helping to plan the reunion. The ticket price is determined by hall rental and cost of the meal. This year we will be returning to a traditional Italian lunch of pasta, red sauce, meatballs, salad, bread, iced tea and dessert. Lunch begins at noon.

We will be displaying as many of our posters as space will permit. We have about 35 covering such topics as the old and new Poggioreale with photos, its history, and photos of many of the families that came to Texas.

Highbank, Texas and its Catholic Cemetery

Some of the more common surnames in Poggioreale (past and present) are Abbate, Accardo, Accurso, Agosta, Alesi, Allegro, Aloisio, Ancona, Anselmo, Apicella, Arcuri, Augello, Bella, Blanda, Bufalo, Burgano', Cacioppo, Calamia, Camardo, Campisi, Cangelosi, Cangemi, Cannatella, Cannella, Cannizzaro, Cantavespri, Caronna, Cascio, Catalano, Ceneri, Ciaccio, Chiappetta, Ciancetta, Clesi, Coltello, Console, Corte, Cuccia, Cunzulo, Cutelli, de Paula, de Petra, DeNina, Dibenedetto, Failla, Falco, Falsone, Fasullo, Fazzino, Fontana, Furmuso, Gagliano, Garacci, Giacone, Gracciano, Guarisco, Ienna, Impastato, Ippolito, La Rocca, Labruzzo, La Vite, Leggio, Leto, Lombardo, Loria, Mangogna, Maniscalco, Margiotta, Martorana, Messina, Milazzo, Milici, Monticciolo, Mule', Palasota, Palazzotto, Palermo, Pizzolato, Ricca, Roppolo, Sacco, Salsiccia, Salvaggio, Salvato, Sancetta, Scamardo, Scardino, Scarpinato, Sparacino, Stagno, Stillone, Strada, Stranci, Termine, Todaro, Tritico, Tusa, Valvo, Varisco, Vella, Venezia, Viola, Zinnanti, and Zummo

Copyright Royal Hill Publishing

This site was last updated in June of 2015 and was created in November of 1997

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