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Burgio, the city of bells and ceramics

Burgio has a very rich ancient history but the historical testimonies are in contradiction so that, at least for a very remote period, there are no absolute certainties.

There is no reliable source on the date of foundation of Burgio. Surely it existed in the fourteenth century AD, when the inhabitants of nearby Scirtea joined those of Burgio.

It existed, with certainty, as early as 1282 AD, when Peter I of Aragon, king of Sicily, invited to the Sicilian Parliament some mayors and, among them, that of Burgio.

The mystery that surrounds the origins of the country is enriched with interesting elements that testify to the presence in those places of different populations: the Castle, perhaps of the twelfth century; a chapel dedicated to M.SS. of the People of 744; a picture of the Virgin SS. between S.Antonio Abate and S.Nicola di Bari of 1102; and finally a Crucifix preserved in the Mother Church of 1103.

The first Lord of Burgio was Aly Binncema (King Amir, of the branch of the Edrisiti) who bequeathed his kingdom to Hamud. He lost it in 1087 in the war against King Ruggero during which he was forced to leave the territory and surrender.

Ruggero established the Diocese of Girgenti by appointing Gerlando as Bishop. Just Gerlando will administer in Sciacca the Baptism in Hamud, converted to Christianity, his wife and children.

Between Ruggero and Hamud a relationship of spiritual brotherhood was established, so much so that Hamud himself took the name of Roger and, since he had been Lord of Burgio, also that of Burgio. Thus the lineage of the noble Burgio family was registered.

In 1330 he was Lord of Burgio Federico di Antiochia. Baronial coat of arms in a Burgio palace

Until 1400 it followed a period on which historians do not agree.

It is certain, however, that in 1405 Burgio belonged to the ancestors of Nicolò Peralta. At the death of Caterina, in the mid-1400s, Burgio passed to Antonio Cardona, his son.

The Lordship of Antonio Cardona was very quiet unlike that of his son, Alfonso Cardona, against whom the people rose asking for the direct intervention of the Viceroy Ferdinando de Acugna to whom they wrote that "lu spectabile conti di Rigio, patrunes of the land of lu Burgiu, the unhappy and continuous hamstrings infect various vexacioni et unjustifies molestii et novitati ». (State Archives of Palermo, R.Cancelleria, year 1490-91, volume 176, sheet 336).

Things, despite the direct intervention of the Viceroy, did not change at all, in fact they remained unchanged until the investiture of Luigi Salluzzo Cardona, successor of Alfonso.

Other successors followed but the substantial change occurred with the Lordship of the Gioeni which lasted from 1577 to 1637.

In 1641 the investiture of Baron of Burgio went to Marcantonio Colonna Quinto due to the marriage with D. Isabella, daughter of Lorenzo Gioeni. It was, for the whole of Sicily, a quiet period for the mental opening of the Baron who preferred to leave Rome and move to Sicily.

The Colonna family maintained the rule of Burgio until 1826, when Margherita Gioeni Colonna Rospigliosi sold the possessions of his family to the burgitian Domenico Maniscalchi.

Also Burgio, from 1781, was under the viceroyalty of Domenico Caracciolo, sent to Sicily by King Ferdinando. The air of eighteenth-century renewal breathed deeply throughout Sicily until 1812, the year of the renunciation in the Sicilian Parliament, by the nobility, of all the privileges he had enjoyed. Sicily was divided into 9 compartments and 22 smaller districts, as the new Constitution recited. Burgio, thus, joined his fortunes with those of the district of Bivona.

A civic council and four jurors were sent to administer the country. But Ferdinand abolished the Constitution in 1816, took the name of Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies, and began every form of persecution against his people.

In Burgio the civic council was replaced by a decurion formed by two elected and a mayor appointed directly by the government. The rebellion that saw the protagonist Sicily touched Burgio, where the citizens rose up and put at the head of the municipal administration the farmer Modesto Cordaro who, together with Michele Arcuri who placed himself at the head of the urban militia, kept in the country in a state of tranquility.

The situation remained stable also because Burgio, between 1847 and 1848, was hit by cholera, which decimated the few remaining population, still in a state of insurrection against the servants of the Bourbons.

The security conditions were really precarious of the Sicily of the time and, to restore a possible order, Ruggero Settimo, at the head of the government, sent Giacinto Carini to Burgio. These, at the head of two squadrons of cavalry and 600 volunteers, freed Burgio from the power of some local citizens and re-established order.

Another blow to the already poor population was given by the compulsory leverage of 1840 and 1841, which, despite the attempt to set themselves in the bush, many young villagers were forced under the threat of arms.

The first years of life in the order of the unification of Italy were very hard; Burgio was again decimated by cholera (1867) and by smallpox (1889) while poverty and precarious safety played their part.

So, even in order to cope with the economic crisis in the countryside, many signed up for the Workers' Bundle, although here, unlike elsewhere, there were no serious consequences for the disturbances that erupted elsewhere and, shortly thereafter, the Fasci were dissolved.

The early years of the beginning of the century were not marked by particular events. Here, as elsewhere, life continued marked by work in the countryside despite the misery had by now the best on the ancient prosperity of the crops in the past.

The wars, then, marked even more the fate of this country that, in 1968, also suffered the consequences of the Belice earthquake.

Burgio, in fact, also had significant damage and its appearance, first characteristic for the particular conformation of the territory (it is a country built on the rock and appears as clinging to the mountain) and for the typical houses with roofs covered by terracotta canals, he mutated.


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