Books about Poggioreale

Many of you, like the editors and contributors of this PIA website, have a long-burning desire

to learn about our Sicilian ancestral home of Poggioreale.  The town that gave life to our ancestors has ancient beginnings that were discussed in a handful of books that are long out of print and now, very rare. Indeed, only a handful of first and second generation Poggiorealesi were aware of these important books about the town because they were so difficult to find.

To further thwart our studies, these books were written in Italian.

Like us, your studies will take a quick and enlightened turn because rare copies of these old and valuable books have been located, recently studied by the writers and colleagues of Poggioreale in America, and presented here in the following list created to give you a boost to your own research. Some books have even been recently translated into English

and are currently available to you today. You will find links below for your convenience.

Author: Can. Nunzio Caronna

Nunzio Caronna was born in Poggioreale and became a renowned Catholic priest and scholar.  Among his religious writings, he also wrote two books about Poggioreale.  These books are out of print and now quite rare.  Through a great deal of patience and research, founders and colleagues of Poggioreale in America have secured authentic copies of the original Italian publications by Nunzio Caronna and, for the first time in history, as of November 2020, we now make them available internationally to all who wish to view and study them in their authentic form.

*  1901, Caronna, Arc. Nunzio, Memorie Storiche di Poggioreale, Stabilimento

             Tipografia Fratelli Marsala, Palermo.

*  1906, Caronna, Can. Nunzio, Supplimento Alla Monografia Storica di                

            Poggioreale, Tipografia Pontificia, Palermo.

Author: Can. Dr. Francesco Aloisio

*   1956, Aloisio, Can. Dr. Francesco, Storia di Poggioreale (Sicilia), Scuola      

              Linotypografica a Boccone del Povero, Palermo.



to read a 2003 profile

of Canonico Dottore Francesco Aloisio as translated by Dr. Jeremiah Spence.  

Storia di Poggioreale (Sicilia) Summary:  

While this book was certainly known to the residents of Poggioreale, it was unknown to thousands of descendants in America and beyond, and the text being in Italian did not make its valuable knowledge available to those of us who were seeking to know more about our ancestral town.  Today, thankfully, the book can be read in English and you will find that it contains a great deal of  knowledge about the history and characteristics of the town, its structure, buildings and culture as seen in 1956.


Francesco Aloisio was born in Poggioreale on November 7, 1877 and died on May 18, 1965 at the age of 88; he is buried in the Poggioreale cemetery in Sicily.  He was a scholarly priest who was classically educated. Ordained in 1903 he became a noted theologian, preacher, and writer who earned the title of Can. Dott. Francesco Aloisio. In 1956, twelve years before the earthquake that struck Poggioreale, he published his book entitled Storia di Poggioreale (Sicilia). The book starts with a concise history of Sicily setting the stage for the foundation of Poggioreale in 1640 while under Spanish rule. It is a fascinating description of the institutions and infrastructure of the town as well as descriptions of the life, customs, and religion of the Poggiorealesi. Information on the folklore and language traditions round out a thorough discussion of the town and its people up to the mid 1950s. For the student of Poggioreale, this book is an invaluable tool that evokes the spirit and essence of our ancestors . For the astute, it describes the old ways of the Poggiorealesi that can be seen and felt in our characters even today.


We know of only 3 translations of the original Italian text that exist as of this writing. In 1996 a copy of the then out-of-print Italian book was given to Robert Lowry, Jr. of Houston, TX by a cousin in Poggioreale.  A descendant of an original Poggiorealese immigrant, Robert and his American cousins Marilyn Maniscalco Henley and Arthur Henley, Pete Maniscalco and Lily Alfano Maniscalco, and Howard and Linda Guyon Hughes shared the cost of translating the original Italian text. Some of the text was in Sicilian, but this was not able to be translated at the time.  At long last, being able to read this valuable book in English was a breakthrough for students of Poggioreale's culture; sadly, copies of this translation were not made widely accessible.  Finally, in 2019, Dr. Jeremiah Spence obtained written permission to translate and publish The History of Poggioreale, Sicily, from 1640 to 1956 from the Superiore Provinciale in Palmero.  Dr. Spence's translation is easily accessible on amazon. -- Book summary by Tina Tondola Anderson, September 2020.

Published Editions:

*   1956, Aloisio, Can. Dr. Francesco, Storia di Poggioreale (Sicilia), Scuola Linotypografica a Boccone del Povero, Palermo. This Italian book is out of print as of this writing.

*   1986, Aloisio, Can. Dr. Francesco, Storia di Poggioreale (Sicilia), Priulla Tipografia Press, Palermo. The book is catalogued under OCLC Number 955253440, re-published by the order of the Commune of Poggioreale;  1000 copies were printed.  This book is out of print as of this writing.

*   1996, Robert Lowry, Jr., The History of Poggioreale (Sicily), Royal Hill Publishing, Houston, TX. The book is catalogued under OCLC Number 37710927. This is a shared translation from Italian to English by Juliet Viola. As of this writing, this edition is available at the Texas State Library and Archive in Austin, Texas and the Beaumont Public Library in Beaumont, TX. 

*   1999, Marilyn Maniscalco Henley, The History of Poggioreale (Sicily), privately published resulting in 100 copies. This is a shared translation from Italian to English by Juliet Viola. 

*   2019, Spence, Dr. Jeremiah, The History of Poggioreale, Sicily: From 1640 to 1956, International Order of Genealogists Publishing, Ireland.  ISBN Number 9781072403371. This edition was edited and translated by Jeremiah Spence, PhD of Austin, TX who received written permission to translate and publish by the Superior Provinciale In Palermo, Sicily. The book is available on via this link:

Author: Erasmo Vella

2003, Vella, Erasmo, Poggioreale di Sicilia tra civiltà contadina e modierna società, Prova d'Autore, Catania.

ISBN 88-88555-24-2

Author:  Zummo, Gaetano

Author Erasmo Vella

2006, Vella, Erasmo and Zummo, Gaetano, Atti del Convegno sulle figure e le opere dell' Arciprete N. Caronna e del. Can. F. Aloisio, Prova d'Autore, Catania. ISBN 88-88555-89-7

Author: Giovanni Maniscalco

Maniscalco, Giovanni, Poggioreale di Sicilia le famiglie - anni '50, publisher and date unknown at this time.

Maniscalco, Giovanni, Le Due Poggioreale, publisher and date unknown at this time.