|Comune di San Fratello|
|Province||Province of Messina (ME)|
|• Mayor||Giuseppe Ricca|
|• Total||67.1 km2 (25.9 sq mi)|
|Population (Dec. 2012)|
|• Density||57/km2 (150/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
San Fratello (Gallo-Italic: San Frareau, Sicilian: Santu Frateddu, Greek and Latin: Apollonia, Medieval Latin Castrum S. Philadelphi), formerly San Filadelfio, is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 110 km east of Palermo and about 90 km west of Messina. San Fratello borders the following municipalities: Acquedolci, Alcara li Fusi, Caronia, Cesarò, Militello Rosmarino, Sant'Agata di Militello.
Its peak of population was in 1921, with 10,094. In the following decade, it lost nearly 20 percent of its population, as people migrated for work to cities and to other countries, such as the United States. As of 31 December 2012, it had a population of 3,854 and an area of 67.1 km².
The name of San Fratello derives from three pious brothers Alfio, Cirino and Filadelfio. In their honour 10 May of every year is kept a festivity. The village was founded in the 11th century by Adelaide del Vasto, the wife of Roger I, a noble of present-day French Normandy who conquered Sicily. She came to Sicily together with colonists. They introduced their Gallo-Italic dialect, which is still spoken in the village. San Fratello is one of the so called Oppida Lombardorum of Sicily, settlements established by the Lombards. In addition to their language, they brought Latin Christianity, which gradually replaced the Greek Byzantine religion and Islam.
The territory of the comune is part of the Nebrodi mountains and has had two major landslides of record. The first was in 1754, and a second large one occurred in 1922. On October 1–2, 2009, the province of Messina suffered devastating, widespread mudslides after a sudden heavy rainstorm; scores of residents died.
In February 2010, after a period of large amounts of rain in the Messina region, as a safety precaution, officials evacuated one-third of the population by February 14. An extensive landslide soon after caused damage to homes in San Fratello and the region.
In the early twentieth century, many people emigrated from Sicily, especially to the United States, for work and other opportunities. From its peak population of 10,094 in 1921, San Fratello lost nearly 20 percent of its population in the next decade. Decline has continued in the rural area as people go to cities to work.
Notable people associated with the town
- Benedict the Moor, was born to African slave parents and freed at birth by their master; the boy grew up here and joined a Franciscan hermitage. He later joined a friary in Palermo. He became known for his exemplary life and was canonized as an Italian saint in 1807. He has been internationally venerated in the Catholic and Lutheran churches.
- Al Pacino, a 20th-21st century United States actor, is descendant through his paternal line from immigrants from San Fratello.
- Bettino Craxi, Italian politician, the first Socialist President of the Council of Ministers of Italy (1983 to 1987).
- Richard Talbert, Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, (ISBN 0-691-03169-X), Map 47, notes.
- All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
- Lombard colonists came from the Piedmont and Liguria regions in northern Italy, and from Provence in France, who became known as the Lombards, associated with the Norman conquest of Sicily.