Sunday, September 26, 2010


    The town of Palo del Colle is located about 15 km inland from the city of Bari. It is situated on a hill [hence the name "Pole on the Hill"] 177 meters above sea level and covers 100 square kilometers in area. The population at present is about 20,000.
           The Roman author Pliny mentions the Palionenses as being of Greek origin. Coins from Taranto, found in the area, point to an organized civil structure of the Magna Grecia as far back as the 5th and 6th centuries BC. Magna Grecia referrs to the Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily.

   An ancient inscription reading Herculea Proles, or descendants of Hercules shows that the Greek colonizers of Palo del Colle honored Hercules as their patron. The original coat-of-arms depicts Hercules ready for the defense of the town. Over time this figure was transformed into a knight in armor on horseback.
   The hill on which Palo del Colle sits , dominates a wide ,flat territory. From here a large expanse of land and ocean makes the site ideally situated for military defense. Palo del Colle became the center of the Greek colony because of this position.
   According to Pliny, Palo del Colle was classified as a "municipality" by the Romans and was left to administer it's own government because it would have been too difficult to conquer.
   The hill on which Palo del Colle is located was considered sacred because Hercules had won a battle there. In Greek Palaion means "victor in the fight". The inhabitants were thus called the Palionnenses. In Latin it transformed to Palium, and into Italian as Palo. Palo could also have stood for palisade or walled fort as interpreted by the Romans. Palo del Colle's excellent defensive position and the courage and wisdom of it's inhabitants has made it an undefeated town. The ancient motto of the town serves as an invitation and also a warning: 

    "Ercole qui regna,dando al pacifico la pace e la guerra a chi la cerca." "Hercules rules here, providing peace for the peaceful and war to those seeking a fight."

An Introduction

Welcome to my new home on the web . This will be a place to share my research into the history, culture, and genealogy of Southern Italy. It will be comprised of links, essays, book reviews, genealogical information, and opinion, also incorporating information from a former website of a similar name.
Most people are not concerned about their roots and past history but it is a part of them whether they are aware of it or not. I am posting this information for all those with an interest or a passion for this topic. I am also gathering this information for the "next generation" because it is worth preserving for them.
Comments, constructive criticism, and additional information are always welcome.

The regions of Puglia and Campania, located in the southern half of the peninsula known as Italy,are where most Italian Americans and also my ancestors originated from. Before it's annexation by northern Italy it was an independent country known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Ruled by the Royal House of Bourbon, from the city of Naples ,this kingdom was also comprised of the island of Sicily, and the regions of Calabria, Basilicata, Abruzzi, and Molise. Separated by mountain and sea barriers differences in custom and dialect developed which made this area distinct from the north. Indeed ,these barriers also created distinctions from region to region. The differences between the southern half of the peninsula and the northern half are now making themselves more prominent due to separatist movements in the north and now in the south. In time culturally and politically independent states will reemerge in a federated Europe.


The name Two Sicilies or Due Sicilie in Italian, was the name of Southern Italy south of Rome before it was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. With the city of Naples as its capital, it was considered the richest and most industrialized of all of the Italian states.
The name Two Sicilies came about during the reign of the French Angevin crown. The uprising known as the Sicilian Vespers removed the Angevins who were replaced by the Argonese crown. The Angevins still maintained control of the crown on mainland Southern Italy. The Angevins referred to their dominion as the Two Sicilies as a way of not surrendering their claim on the island of Sicily. The Bourbons joined Sicily and mainland Southern Italy in 1816 and their kingdom again became officially known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies