Petralia Sottana and Petralia Soprana

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Chiesa Madre
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In a cave near Petralia there are findings of early human settlements. Ceramic pots with a particular decoration are dated 3000 years BC. Similar pots are found at Serraferlicchio, Malpasso by the river Imera between Caltanissetta and Agrigento.
Petralia soprana is the higest located village in the Madonie and founded by the Sicanis who probably named it Petra. This place had a good possibility of defence against hostile tribes. Later the area was inhabitated by the Greeks for since to be dominated by the Carthaginians. Then the Romans arrived calling the area The Roman Granary. After the fall of the Roman Empire Sicily was open for tribes of vandals of German origin also ravaging Petralia. The area was liberated by by the Byzantines who rules in Sicily for the next 300 years.
The the Saracens arrived in the 900 century and Petralia became an important post, for military strategic reasons and for trade, a church and a mosque. Also in Petralia or the Arab name Batarliah (or Batraliah)as well as in the whole Sicily the Saracens practised tolerance for other religious faiths than Islam.
By the arrival of the Normans in 1062 the feudalism was introduced remaning for the next 750 years. First the villages belonged to the county of Collesano, another village in Madonie but Petralia became seperated in Sottana and Soprana in 1258 by king Manfred, son of the great king Frederic II and one of the villages was handed over to the county of Geraci to the Ventimiglia-family.
After 1412 Sicily was ruled by a Spanish viceroy and Petralia again was handed over this time to a Spanish nobleman Pietro Cardona, son of the first viceroy. Since the village was the centre for a big county for then to belong to di Toledo-family until the end of the feudalism in 1817.

Pusterna: around the castle at the time
Carmine: located highest in the village and inhabitated by craftsmen
San Salvatore: next to Carmine and was founded in 1500 century but today not inhabitated
Provvidenza: is the quarter just below Chiesa Madre with the narrow streets and lanes inhabitated by country workers
Casale: the quarter was founded between 1700 and 1800 centuries where a number of jews arrived
In newer times there has been built residental quarters on the edge of Sottana - and Soprana as well but not many houses.

Around Petralia grow a lot of sweet chestnuts - highly appreciated by the Sicilians - and in the last week of October every year there is a celebration to the sweet chestnuts.
The number of inhabitants was in the beginning of the century 1900 around 7000 in each village but since there has been a decline as in many small villages all over Europe.

There are many interesting buildings to see in both Petralia especially churches but the construction of the villages gives an impression of the life and environment in earlier epochs.

more about the two Petralia

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Piano Farina

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