Santa Cristina Gela
|Santa Cristina Gela
|Comune di Santa Cristina Gela|
View of Santa Cristina Gela from a nearby hill
|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)|
|• Density||24/km2 (63/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||Santacristinesi (Albanian Sëndahstinarë)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Saint Cristina|
|Saint day||24 July|
|Region||Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Sicily|
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.
- All demographics and other statistics from the Italian statistical institute (Istat)
- Arbëresh at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Arbëreshë Albanian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.