Bronte, Sicily

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Bronte
Comune
Comune di Bronte
Coat of arms of Bronte
Coat of arms
Bronte is located in Italy
Bronte
Bronte
Location of Bronte in Italy
Coordinates: 37°48′N 14°50′E / 37.800°N 14.833°E / 37.800; 14.833
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province Catania (CT)
Government
 • Mayor Giuseppe Firrarello (since May 17, 2005)
Area
 • Total 249 km2 (96 sq mi)
Elevation 760 m (2,490 ft)
Population (July 2009)
 • Total 19,424
 • Density 78/km2 (200/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Brontesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 95034
Dialing code 095
Patron saint St. Blaise
Saint day 3 February
Website Official website

Bronte is a town and comune in the Province of Catania, in Sicily, Italy, a symbol of the 'collateral damage' suffered by many southerners during the fight for the creation of an Italian state. The town is situated approximately 10 miles (16 km) west-northwest from Mount Etna, on the side of the valley of the Simeto river, and about 20 miles (32 km) west from Giarre and the coast. Bronte is mostly reliant on farming for its economy, particularly of pistachio nuts.

History[edit]

Bronte's name derives from that of one of the First Cyclopes and it means "The Thunderer". Legend has it that the Cyclopes lived under Mount Etna, where they crafted weaponry for Zeus and other Gods.[citation needed]

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 repressing 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 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 Commune of Bronte. Today it is a local tourist attraction in Maniace, and has been restored (including the recreation of ceramic-tiled floors) by the Commune. It is built in the style of an English country house (with formal garden) set in the hills of eastern Sicily.[1]

In 1860, during 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, and at Bronte on August 4, 1860, Garibaldi's friend and general Girolamo Bixio bloodily repressed one of these uprisings with two battalions of Redshirts, massacring more than a dozen, peasants and nobles alike, and putting the torch to the town theater and municipal archives.[2] Bixio ordered a kangaroo court and had five Bronteans summarily shot, all of which earned him the sobriquet "the Butcher of Bronte".

Landmarks[edit]

  • Castello Nelson – a museum about 8 miles (13 km) from the town center. Originally an abbey dating to 1174, is 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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hibbert, Christopher (1995). Nelson: A Personal History. Penguin Books. p. 195. 
  2. ^ Chisholm 1911.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]