History of Palazzolo Acreide


See Palazzolo Acreide guide for highlights and historic monuments

See also history of Akrai for the ancient town that stood on the same location - Palazzolo Acreide was the town that stood here after the dissolution of the former Akrai, due to the destruction by the Arabs.

For the medieval and modern history of Palazzolo we refer to the detailed studies by V. Amico, who gave an overview of the many feudal families that followed each other in the domain of the feud:

“[...] I do not know whom ruled Palazzolo under the Normans, but as Buscemi was subject, along with other surrounding lands, to the heirs of Godfrey Count of Itagusa, son of Roger, it is easy to conjecture that it belonged to him . Under the Emperor Frederick II of Swabia (1194-1250) Alberto Pallavicini, and Pellegrino de Italo were lords of Palazzolo...

... In the early days of the reign of the Aragonese, the town was ruled by Alaimo di Lentini with Buccheri and Odegrillo. It passed from Guillaume de Castellar to the Alagona, and Matteo Alagona under the reign of Martin was Lord of Palazzolo, but Martin in 1313  conceded that country and the estates to Ponzio da Iscensa. In the year 1405 it belonged to Albaro of Heredia, who was called the Baron of Palazzolo  [...]" [4]

The sequence of the Lords of Palazzolo, as you can see, was quite impressive. From the 17th century to the abolition of feudalism in 1812 it belonged to the Ruffo Princes, and it became a State city.

The current configuration of the town is characterized by a road network that connects the main parts of Palazzolo, dating from the three main phases of the urban expansion, namely that before the earthquake of 1693, the following period of rebuilding, and  the present.

Origins of the name Palazzolo

The name "Palazzolo" derives from the Latin term "Palatium" and its diminutive “Palatiolum” or “Pala-c-iolum” [small palace], used in some medieval documents, where we note significant variations in the name used due to the incessant vernacularization of the Latin.

For example, the modern name of Palazzolo is first recorded [1] as “Placeolum” in a bull of Pope Alexander III (1105-1181) in 1169 and as “Palatiolum” in the grant of land made by King William (1153-1181) to the hermit Stefano in 1170. [2]. "Palatium", "Palatiolum", "Palaciulum", "Placeulum" and "Palazzolo"  are some toponyms  widely used in Italy, which gave rise to the name of many cities.

"Palatiolum" could refer to a mansion, but also to a simple stone house, to distinguish it from wooden houses, or to an ecclesiastical possession exempt from tax. Finally, "Palatium" - "Palatiolum" could also refer to a building of royal power. It seems, however, according to the most accredited opinions (Bernabò Brea et al.), that the words "Palatium" and "Palatiolum" refer to the castle built by the Normans, which was the palace of royal power, the so-called  “Curtis Regia."

We add, among the “curiosa” about the name Palatiolum, that according to some sources, the Norman castle "inherited" in some way the name "Palatiolum", because it stood on the site of the ruins of an ancient building dating back even to Hiero II:

"The medieval town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1693, and it was named Palazzolo, according to some opinions, from the ‘Palatiolum’ word, (because of) the ruins of a magnificent building attributed to Hiero II." [3].

See the Palazzolo Acreide guide before visiting.

References

1. for example, as "Balansùl" by Al Idrisi ("The Book of Roger", 1883, p. 55), and “el Akrat” by the Arabs

2. See Bernabò Brea, in “Siculorum Gymnasium”, 1950: 41

3. See “Collezione di monografie illustrate”, Enrico Mauceri, “Siracusa e la valle dell’Anapo”, edited by C. Ricci, 1909: 132 ff.

4. See V. Amico, “Topographical Dictionary of Sicily”, 1856: 247 ff.