The Families of Poggioreale Sicily

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', from 'podio', the old Latin used in the 1600's, meaning a hill or a high place, 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.

Click here for recent news about Poggioreale

New for 2023
Home videos of Poggioreale and nearby towns from 1993, 1994 and 1997

  • Old Poggioreale, less than 30 years after the earthquake when many of the buildings that are gone today were still standing. Contains footage of all churches, many of the streets and other landmarks
  • New Poggioreale, its landmarks and everyday life such as the grape and olive harvests, including festivals and processions
  • Interviews with residents of Old Poggioreale who recount their experience during and after the 1968 earthquake and discuss traditions and customs of Poggioreale
  • Ruins of nearby towns such as Gibellina, Salaparuta, Montevago and Santa Margherita Belice
  • Trapani at Easter. The famous procession in the town of Trapani
  • Visits to other Sicilian towns such as Palermo, Corleone, Bisacquino, Sciacca, Menfi, Porto Palo, Sambuca, Partanna, Ragusa, Modica, Noto, Caltabellotta, Roccamena and many others

Access to view the videos is free but a password is required. Click here to find out how to get a password. Please be sure your anti-spam software is set to allow you to receive e-mail from this site. Once you have your user ID and password, you can enter the website by clicking the "enter" button below. Passwords are periodically re-set, but you are welcome to request another at any time.

Click for Videos

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.

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

If you haven't heard back from me in about a week, it's probably because your spam filter is overly aggressive and my reply went directly to your spam or trash folder. If you don't find it there, check with your internet access provider to see if my email was screened. AOL is particularly bad about this, so you'll need to write from another account, such as gmail or yahoo. There's nothing I can do about it from my end.

This site was last updated in July of 2023 and was created in November of 1997

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