Where is Poggioreale?
The 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 it is necessary to hire a car or a taxi service.
Founded in 1642 as a center for regional agricultural workers, the old village of Poggioreale grew to a maximum population of 4000 inhabitants during the 18th and 19th centuries. Large numbers of residents emigrated from Poggioreale to the United States from 1860 to 1910. 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.
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 Australia where thousands of Poggiorealese descendants remain today.
Historic map of Sicily, 1600