Bronte, Sicily

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Comune di Bronte
Coat of arms of Bronte
Location of Bronte
Bronte is located in Italy
Location of Bronte in Italy
Bronte is located in Sicily
Bronte (Sicily)
Coordinates: 37°47′N 14°50′E / 37.783°N 14.833°E / 37.783; 14.833
Metropolitan cityCatania (CT)
 • MayorGiuseppe Firrarello
 • Total249 km2 (96 sq mi)
760 m (2,490 ft)
 (30 April 2017)[2]
 • Total19,074
 • Density77/km2 (200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code095
Patron saintSt. Blaise
Saint day3 February
WebsiteOfficial website

Bronte (Arbëreshë Albanian: Brontë) is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Catania, in Sicily, southern Italy. The town is situated approximately 16 kilometres (10 mi) west-northwest from Mount Etna, on the side of the valley of the Simeto river, and about 32 kilometres (20 mi) west from Giarre and Sicily's eastern coast. Bronte's economy relies mostly on farming, particularly of pistachio nuts. The town was settled and historically inhabited by the Arbëreshë community.[3]


Bronte's name derives from that of one of the Cyclopes in Greek mythology and it means "The Thunderer". Legend has it that the Cyclopes lived under Mount Etna.

In 1520 Charles V united the twenty-four hamlets of the surrounding area, which formed the town of Bronte. Mount Etna nearly destroyed the town three times, in 1651, in 1832, and finally in 1843.[citation needed]

In 1799, King Ferdinand III created Bronte as a Duchy, and rewarded admiral Horatio Nelson with the title of Duke for the help he had provided him in suppressing the revolution in Naples and so in recovering his throne. As well as being made a Duke, Nelson was given as a fief the Castello di Maniace, which at the time was the remains of a Benedictine monastery. The Castle passed into the Bridport family when the 1st Viscount Bridport married the then Duchess of Bronte, who was Admiral Nelson's niece. The Bridports continued to live in the castle until 1982 when the current Viscount sold the property to the Comune of Bronte. Today it is a local tourist attraction in Maniace, and has been restored (including the recreation of ceramic-tiled floors) by the Comune. It is built in the style of an English country house (with formal garden) set in the hills of eastern Sicily.[4]

In 1860, during Giuseppe Garibaldi's Expedition of the thousand, there was a citizen's revolt. Sicilian peasants had hoped for - and did not get from Garibaldi - reforms from the restrictive conditions imposed by noble landowners. This hope had been reinforced by Garibaldi's decree of 2 June 1860 that land would be re-distributed. The southerners revolted in several localities including at Bronte, where 16 were cruelly massacred.[5] Buildings were also set on fire, including the theatre, the municipal archive, other builds andany houses.[5] On August 5, 1860, Garibaldi's sent general Girolamo ("Nino") Bixio with two battalions of bersaglieri to restore order in Bronte.[5] Bixio reached Bronte the next day and repressed the riots. On the 9th trials where hastily setup, which only lasted for four hours and led to the summary executions of six people.[5] The facts and details of the riots and its repression have been the subject of reinterpretation and debate.[6]

Main sights[edit]

  • Castello Nelson – a museum about 7 miles (11 km) north from the town center. Originally an abbey dating to 1174, it has a Gothic-Norman portico and contains a Byzantine icon which, according to tradition, was painted by St Luke.[citation needed]
  • Church of the Annunziata (1535)
  • Collegio Capizzi (1774–1779)

Twin towns[edit]


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ P. Bruni, ed. (2004). Arbëreshë: cultura e civiltà di un popolo. p. 34. ISBN 9788824020091.
  4. ^ Hibbert, Christopher (1995). Nelson: A Personal History. Penguin Books. p. 195.
  5. ^ a b c d "Bronte Insieme/History - The 1860 facts [2]".
  6. ^ "Bronte Insieme/History - The 1860 facts, Debates and reconstructions".


External links[edit]