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
Location of Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela is located in Italy
Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela
Location of Santa Cristina Gela in Italy
Santa Cristina Gela is located in Sicily
Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela
Santa Cristina Gela (Sicily)
Coordinates: 37°59′N 13°20′E / 37.983°N 13.333°E / 37.983; 13.333
Metropolitan cityPalermo (PA)
FrazioniAltofonte, Belmonte Mezzagno, Marineo, Monreale, Piana degli Albanesi
 • MayorMassimo Diano
 • Total38 km2 (15 sq mi)
670 m (2,200 ft)
(31 December 2010)[1]
 • Total927
 • Density24/km2 (63/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Santacristinesi (Albanian Sëndahstinarë)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code091
Patron saintSaint Cristina
Saint day24 July
WebsiteOfficial website
Flag of the Italian Arberesh.svg
Native toItaly
RegionApulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Sicily
Native speakers
100,000 (2007)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3aae
Linguasphere55-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 a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Santa Cristina Gela (Arberesh: Sëndahstina) is an Arbëreshë village in the Metropolitan City 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.


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]