Where is Poggioreale?
Historic map of Sicily, 1600
The Sicilian village of Poggioreale is about 50 miles by car from the capital city of Palermo. There are no regular train or bus connections to the village, and to visit it is necessary to hire a car or a taxi service.
The ruins of the original town still stand; the town was rebuilt only a few meters away.
The town was founded in 1642 by noblemen who were given permission by King Phillip IV of Spain. King Phillip was, at the time the King of Naples and Sicily. A handful of homes were built initially, but the small village of Poggioreale grew to a maximum population of approximately 4,000 inhabitants during the 18th and 19th centuries. The town rises upon a hill on the stratums of "Le Rose Mountain," commonly called "Castellaccio," in the ancient area of the Elimi people. It is nearly 400 meters above sea level. The inhabited nucleus was born as a detachment of the nearby Gibellina, in the old feudal area of Bagnitelli, property of Marquis Don Francesco Morso as granted by King Phillip.
In 1968, the entire region suffered a severe earthquake that rendered the old village of Poggioreale uninhabitable. While many residents lived in huts and tents for years until a new village could be constructed, others left Poggioreale to live with relatives in America and Australia where thousands of Poggiorealese descendants remain today.
Prior to the earthquake, large numbers of residents emigrated from Poggioreale to the United States from 1860 to 1910 for economic reasons. Many went to New Orleans having been recruited by plantation owners who needed agricultural workers on their plantations. A large group of Poggiorealesi eventually moved to the Brazos Valley in Texas as well as Houston and other areas. Many went to New York City, Philadephia, and St. Louis among other large cities. Fewer made it to the West Coast.
Our website has a wealth of information for you to discover and learn about Poggioreale's history, people, and their descendents. We present this information in their memory and honor.
*Text updated November 2021.