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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.

Vintage Photo of Father Nunzio Caronna

Author: Can. Nunzio Caronna

Nunzio Caronna, 1861-1928, 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.

And, in 2022, the Co-Founders of Poggioreale in America published a book

containing the English translations of these landmark books by Caronna.

See the link below to read about the book and to order.

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

             Tipografia Fratelli Marsala, Palermo.

*  1906, Caronna, Can. Nunzio,Vita Civile,Supplimento Alla Monografia Storica         di Poggioreale, Tipografia Pontificia, Palermo.

*  2022, Anderson, Christine and Todaro, Ross.  Love Letters to Poggioreale: An English Translation of Books by Arciprete Nunzio Caronna, 1901-1906.  Poggioreale in America Inc., Wisconsin.


Book Summary:

     A little girl in Chicago, Illinois and a little boy in Bryan, Texas grew up under the loving family influence of their ltalian American ancestors who immigrated from a small town in Sicily. They were raised by the same kind of vibrant people, went to similar churches and said the same prayers. They heard the same Sicilian lullabies and could sing the same songs, ate the same foods, and were steeped in their Sicilian­ American culture. Little did they know that her grandfather and his great-grandfather were brothers who came to America but became separated when one stayed in the south and the other moved to the midwest. Their families lost touch until the cousins met in 2017. 

     As Tina and Ross grew older and began researching their family trees, they met for the flrst time and uncovered a connection that was just waiting to be made. Exploring their mutuai ancestral home, they discovered the little-known, fascinating history and many tales about Poggioreale, Sicily. A beautiful little town that was created in1642, and whose ancient ruins still stand today, it beckoned to them from across the ocean. Their quest for knowledge about their family's ancestral home led them to the discovery of near-ancient texts written by a compelling priest who wrote about his birthplace in a first book in 1901, and a second in 1906. 

     Father Nunzio Caronna was a favorite son of Poggioreale. He was a recognized scholar and intellect. He became Archbishop (Arciprete) and later was bestowed the titles of Canon and Doctor ad honorum. He wrote many books and papers. Early in his writing career, he wrote about what he clearly loved the most, his hometown of Poggioreale and its people. Ross and Tina released his words and sentiments that became buried in time by commissioning a translation to share with all English speaking descendants in America and beyond. And through the process, they found that they, too, were compelled to profess their own deep love of their Poggiorealesi family and heritage in their own way. 

Author: Can. Dr. Francesco Aloisio

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

              Linotypografica a Boccone del Povero, Palermo.

Vintage photo of Father Francisco Aloisio


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. 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 by the author 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 1642 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 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 these sections were not able to be translated at the time.  Two versions of this translation exist in print: One published by Robert Lowry in a very limited number and anther by Marilyn Maniscalco Henley, both in very limited numbers.  Still, at long last, being able to read this valuable book in English was a breakthrough for students of Poggioreale's culture.  Copies of this translation are not widely accessible but we hope to remedy that. 

In 2019, Dr. Jeremiah Spence produced and published his version of the Aloisio book which is an adaptation of the 1956 original. Dr. Spence obtained written permission to translate and publish his English version, called The History of Poggioreale, Sicily, from 1640 to 1956, from the Superiore Provinciale in Palmero.  It does not contain a complete book translation; if you wish a straightforward translation you need to refer to the Lowry and Henley publications described above. Dr. Spence's book is easily accessible on amazon and is very helpful for those who wish to begin their study of Poggioreale. -- Book summary by Tina (Todaro) Anderson, updated December 2021.

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 is an edited version of the Aloisio original. Dr. Jeremiah Spence, PhD of Austin, TX received written permission to translate and publish this edition 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

This is the third published historical book about Poggioreale by sons of Poggioreale. Following in the tradition of authors Can. Nunzio Caronna in the 1900s and Can. Francesco Aloisio in 1956, Professor Vella gives an important modern perspective that helps us understand how our ancestors came to be.  It is a must-read for students of Poggioreale. Italian author, Professor Erasmo Vella, gives us a modern historical and sociological look at the Poggiorealese people before, doing and after the earthquake.  


The original Vella book in Italian is currently out of print.  Luckily, it was translated by Poggioreale in America authors Christine Anderson and Ross Todaro who presented their thoughtful translation in 2023 as described below. Available for ordering on amazon.

Authors: Anderson, Christine and Todaro, Ross Jr.

2023, Anderson, Christine R and Todaro, Ross Jr. Poggioreale of Sicily from Peasant Civilization to Today: An English Translation of the Erasmo Vella Book, 2003.  Poggioreale in America Inc, Wisconsin. Available on

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Come back for more author information.

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.

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