Santa Cristina Gela

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Santa Cristina Gela
Comune di Santa Cristina Gela
View of Santa Cristina Gela from a nearby hill
View of Santa Cristina Gela from a nearby hill
Coat of arms of Santa Cristina Gela
Coat of arms
Santa Cristina Gela is located in Italy
Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela
Location of Santa Cristina Gela in Italy
Coordinates: 37°59′N 13°20′E / 37.983°N 13.333°E / 37.983; 13.333
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province / Metropolitan city Palermo (PA)
Frazioni Altofonte, Belmonte Mezzagno, Marineo, Monreale, Piana degli Albanesi
 • Mayor Massimo Diano
 • Total 38 km2 (15 sq mi)
Elevation 670 m (2,200 ft)
Population (31 December 2010)[1]
 • Total 927
 • Density 24/km2 (63/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Santacristinesi (Albanian Sëndahstinarë)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 90030
Dialing code 091
Patron saint Saint Cristina
Saint day 24 July
Website Official website
Flag of the Italian Arberesh.svg
Pronunciation [ˌæɾbəˈɾiʃt]
Native to Italy
Region Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Sicily
Ethnicity Arbëreshë
Native speakers
100,000 (2007)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aae
Glottolog arbe1236[3]
Linguasphere 55-AAA-aha to 55-AAA-ahe
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Santa Cristina Gela (Arberesh: Sëndahstina) is an Arbëreshë village in the province of Palermo in Sicily.

The village, along with Contessa Entellina and Piana degli Albanesi, is one of three Arberesh settlements in Sicily, where the Arberesh language is still spoken.

Bilingual sign at entrance to the village


Santa Cristina Gela was founded in the 1691 by 82 descendants of the earlier Albanian settlers from Piana degli Albanesi. The settlers acquired the area under a contract with the Archbishop of Palermo and had to pay to him feudal rights for some public services, although they were granted tax exemptions and privated buildings rights.

Santa Cristina Gela was originally called Santa Cristina. The name Gela was affixed in honour of the Naselli family, princes of Sant'Elia (part of Santa Flavia) and dukes of Gela, who owned vast territories in the area of the village.

The inhabitants of Santa Cristina brought with them the habits and customs of their ancestors the Albanians, as well as the Byzantine rite Greek community features Arbëreshë.

The modern territory of Santa Cristina Gela was created from the unification of three earlier feudal principalities: the fiefs of Santa Cristina, Turdiepi and Pianetto. The territory of the latter is rich in vineyards and olive groves and in more recent times has become a residential area and a holiday destination.


Santa Cristina Gela is a traditional agricultural and culinary producing village, its production of wood cooked bread is famed and is exported to the adjacent municipalities. Other local products are the cheeses- (gjizë, udhos, and kashkaval. Sweets, such as the famous "kanojët" and meat from local farms (particularly the sausage with fennel seeds- likëngë).


Santa Cristina Gela is a trilingual settlement; its inhabitants proficient in Arbërisht, Sicilian as well as Italian. However, the local variety of Arbërisht is undergoing attrition. Language endangerment is a growing concern for Santa Cristina Gela's inhabitants, especially among the younger generations who receive virtually no schooling in their language nor media coverage.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ All demographics and other statistics from the Italian statistical institute (Istat)
  2. ^ Arbëresh at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Arbëreshë Albanian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 

External links[edit]