The Families of Poggioreale, Sicilia

Piazza Elimo e Matrice, Poggioreale, Sicilia

Poggioreale is a small farming community of about 1800 people located in the inland portion of far western Sicily, in the Italian province of Trapani. Located near the tip of the boot of Italy, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Because of its strategic location and fertile soil, world powers have fought to possess Sicily for centuries.

The name Poggioreale comes from the two Italian words 'poggio', meaning hill and 'reale', meaning royal. The town is located on the southern exposure of Mount Castellazzo, popularly known as Castellaccio, which has been long rumored as the site of an ancient town founded by the Trojans who were fleeing the destruction of their city by the Athenians. Unfortunately this myth has not been substantiated by the several archaeological digs over the years. Nevertheless, the site has a commanding view of the Belice River Valley that the founders from nearby Gibellina considered to be fit for royalty. This photo is a view of the Mother Church, or Matrice, as seen from Piazza Elimo.

Poggioreale was founded in 1642 and suffered extensive damage in the 1968 earthquake which also destroyed the neighboring towns of Salaparuta and Gibellina. The new town of Poggioreale was constructed a few miles to the southeast. Although nothing remains of the old towns of Salaparuta and Gibellina, many buildings still stand in the abandoned Old Poggioreale, making it a popular site for pilgrimages by Poggiorealesi and their descendants around the world.

This website is dedicated to my parents, Judge Robert Lee Lowry and Kitty Higginbotham Lowry, and to the friendly and generous people of the present day town of Poggioreale, to whom I am forever in debt. It is currently (and continuously) under construction by Robert Lowry Jr. of Houston, Texas, USA. My paternal grandparents were Antonino Loria and Anna DeNina, both born in Poggioreale. They raised a family of twelve children in the Brazos River Valley in central Texas, not far from Bryan. This website is part of my attempt to contact, and to create a permanent record of the many families that trace their origins to Poggioreale - families that are now represented in countries throughout the world.

I am also very grateful to the many, many people who have helped this website take shape over the years, most of them also descendants of the brave souls who reluctantly left Poggioreale with the hope of finding a better life.

Many families left Poggioreale around 1800 to settle the new towns of Roccamena and Camporeale, both just a few miles north of Poggioreale. If you are descended from one of these families and would like to exchange family information, please contact me at the address at the bottom of this page.

The 2015 Reunion of Poggioreale Families took place on
Sunday, August 9th at
Saint Anthony's Catholic Church in Bryan, Texas

We would like to thank Becky and Denise at the church,
as well as Patranella's Bakery & Café for helping to make the reunion
the success that it was, selling out at 220 tickets.

We are also grateful to the volunteers without
whom the reunion would not have been possible.
Helping with everything from set up to check-in to serving to clean up, they are:

Diane Corbett
Cynthia and Leon Denena
Kim Loria Hopcus
Lillian Scarmardo Hughes
Donna and Sam LaBarbera
Marie Fazzino Loria
Robert Lowry
Robbie Morrison
Toni Osborn
John Lee Perrone
Toni Loria Tax
Chris and Karen Vollentine
Allison and Ashtyn Vollentine and friend

Please let me know if I have inadvertently omitted anyone.

coffee mug campanile

We still have souvenir coffee mugs for anyone who may have missed them at the reunion. The mug features a drawing of the Mother Church's bell tower in old Poggioreale. The bell tower stood for more than 40 years after the 1968 earthquake, even after the rest of the church had fallen. It finally succumbed to neglect and fell on December 1st, 2009

The coffee mug sells for $5 plus shipping, with all profit going to the Highbank Catholic Cemetery maintenance fund

Highbank, Texas and its Catholic Cemetery

Some of the more common surnames in Poggioreale (past and present) are Abbate, Accardo, Accurso, Agosta, Alesi, Allegro, Aloisio, Ancona, Anselmo, Apicella, Arcuri, Augello, Bella, Blanda, Bufalo, Burgano', Cacioppo, Calamia, Camardo, Campisi, Cangelosi, Cangemi, Cannatella, Cannella, Cannizzaro, Cantavespri, Caronna, Cascio, Catalano, Ceneri, Ciaccio, Chiappetta, Ciancetta, Clesi, Coltello, Console, Corte, Cuccia, Cunzulo, Cutelli, de Paula, de Petra, DeNina, Dibenedetto, Failla, Falco, Falsone, Fasullo, Fazzino, Fontana, Furmuso, Gagliano, Garacci, Giacone, Gracciano, Guarisco, Ienna, Impastato, Ippolito, La Rocca, Labruzzo, La Vite, Leggio, Leto, Lombardo, Loria, Mangogna, Maniscalco, Margiotta, Martorana, Messina, Milazzo, Milici, Monticciolo, Mule', Palasota, Palazzotto, Palermo, Pizzolato, Ricca, Roppolo, Sacco, Salsiccia, Salvaggio, Salvato, Sancetta, Scamardo, Scardino, Scarpinato, Sparacino, Stagno, Stillone, Strada, Stranci, Termine, Todaro, Tritico, Tusa, Valvo, Varisco, Vella, Venezia, Viola, Zinnanti, and Zummo

Copyright Royal Hill Publishing

This site was last updated in August of 2015 and was created in November of 1997

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