Lucca Sicula

Coat of arms of Lucca Sicula

Lucca Sicula is a splendid Sicilian village between Agrigento and Palermo lying on a hill that separates the Verdura river valley from that of the Gebbia.

The valley was already inhabited at the time of the Sicani and then experienced a succession of dominations. Traces of an agricultural settlement from the Roman period have been found from the time when Sicily was the granary of the empire.

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Also in this area, around 1100 the Normans built the city of Villanova which was however destroyed and never rebuilt.

There is no other information until 1622, the year of the current village’s name.

Before that, this area was called Culla and belonged to a fief of the Perollo family. The last descendant of this family was the noble Francesca who brought it as a dowry to her husband Francesco Lucchesi Palli, prince of Campofiorito.

To help her husband, Francesca obtained the “Licentia Populandi” from her king, and had the area reclaimed and the construction of a first settlement began. To populate this settlement, her husband gave the land in emphyteusis to the farmers and each family could cultivate its own plot if it settled for at least 12 consecutive years in the village.

The new centre was named Lucca in honour of her husband’s hometown. Thanks to this settlement, her husband obtained the title of Marquis with a privilege of the king of Spain Philip IV of Habsburg, also known as Philip the Great.

Around the seventeenth century in Sicily various inhabited centres were founded because the nobles who had their own populated fiefdom could claim a seat in the Sicilian Parliament.

The first church in Lucca dates back to 1645 again built by Francesca because the Populandi License also required the construction of a religious building.

The couple had no children and the fief passed first to the Jesuit college of Palermo and then in 1760 to Geronimo Filangeri whose family ruled it for a long time.

The real buildings and the current shape of the historic centre began in the nineteenth century with the construction of Palazzo Lo Cascio, the church of the Santissimo Rosario and that of Santa Maria Santissima Immacolata.

The difference between landowners and peasants was however very strong and the citizens of Lucca engaged in the revolutionary uprisings of 1848 and then in support of Garibaldi’s advance. Short-term support and the disappointment of Garibaldi’s dreams gave rise to the phenomenon of anti-unity banditry.

The definitive name of Lucca Sicula was given to the town after the unification of Italy, in 1863, to distinguish it from the Tuscan city.

In 1892 the revolt of the peasants of the Sicilian Fascists led to the partial redistribution of land and widespread ownership. But the poverty of the condition of the peasants was still strong and from the early twentieth century many citizens of Lucca Sicula emigrated to America in search of fortune. The remittances of these emigrants for a certain period helped to improve the conditions of the residents of Lucca Sicula.

Agriculture is the main resource and the Biancolilla and Nocellara del Belice brand extra virgin olive oil is the green gold of Lucca Sicula. This oil is celebrated with a festival every year.

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