San Fratello

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San Fratello
Comune di San Fratello
San Fratello and Filicudi island
San Fratello and Filicudi island
San Fratello is located in Italy
San Fratello
San Fratello
Location of San Fratello in Italy
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Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province / Metropolitan city Province of Messina (ME)
 • Mayor Giuseppe Ricca
 • Total 67.1 km2 (25.9 sq mi)
Population (Dec. 2012)
 • Total 3,854
 • Density 57/km2 (150/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 98075
Dialing code 0941

San Fratello (Gallo-Italic: San Frareau, Sicilian: Santu Frateddu, Greek and Latin: Apollonia,[1] Medieval Latin Castrum S. Philadelphi), formerly San Filadelfio, is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 110 kilometres (68 mi) east of Palermo and about 90 kilometres (56 mi) west of Messina. San Fratello borders the following municipalities: Acquedolci, Alcara li Fusi, Caronia, Cesarò, Militello Rosmarino, Sant'Agata di Militello.

Its peak of population was in 1921, with 10,094. In the following decade, it lost nearly 20 percent of its population, as people migrated for work to cities and to other countries, especially the United States. As of 31 December 2012, it had a population of 3,854 and an area of 67.1 square kilometres (25.9 sq mi).[2]


The name of San Fratello derives from three pious brothers Alfio, Cirino and Filadelfio. In their honour a festival is held annually on 10 May. The village was founded in the 11th century by Adelaide del Vasto, the wife of Roger I, a noble of present-day French Normandy who conquered Sicily. She came to Sicily together with colonists.[3] They introduced their Gallo-Italic dialect, which is still spoken in the village. San Fratello is one of the so-called Oppida Lombardorum of Sicily, settlements established by the Lombards. In addition to their language, they brought Latin Christianity, which gradually replaced the Greek Byzantine Christianity and Islam.

The territory of the comune is part of the Nebrodi mountains. It has had two major landslides of record. The first was in 1754, and a second large one occurred in 1922. On 1–2 October 2009, the province of Messina suffered devastating, widespread mudslides after a sudden heavy rainstorm; scores of residents died.

In February 2010, after a period of large amounts of rain in the Messina region, as a safety precaution, officials evacuated one-third of the population by 14 February. An extensive landslide soon after caused damage to homes in San Fratello and the region.

Demographic evolution

In the early twentieth century, many people emigrated from Sicily, especially to the United States, for work and other opportunities. From its peak population of 10,094 in 1921, San Fratello lost nearly 20 percent of its population in the next decade. Decline has continued in the rural area as people go to cities to work.

Notable people

  • Benedict the Moor, was born to African slave parents and freed at birth by their master. The boy grew up here, where he joined a Franciscan hermitage. He later joined a friary in Palermo. He became known for his exemplary life and was canonized as an Italian saint in 1807. He has been internationally venerated in the Catholic and Lutheran churches. He was the first black saint canonized with a regular canonical process.
  • Al Pacino, a 20th–21st century United States actor, is a descendant through his paternal line of immigrants from San Fratello.
  • Grandfather of Bettino Craxi Italian politician, the first Socialist President of the Council of Ministers of Italy (1983 to 1987), was born here.
  • Since 2015 it hosts "Pas De Trai", international music festival

See also


  1. Richard Talbert, Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, (ISBN 0-691-03169-X), Map 47, notes.
  2. All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
  3. Lombard colonists came from the Piedmont and Liguria regions in northern Italy, and from Provence in France. They became known as the Lombards, associated with the Norman conquest of Sicily.