The Map allows to identify the different villages that are included in our investigation. Being under continuous and constant updates, it is subject to changes, corrections and additions.
With the DM n.1, passed on January 2, 1940, called “Legge per la Colonizzazione del Latifondo Siciliano”, the Agency for the Colonization of the Sicilian Latifondo (ECLS) was established as a public juridical person and placed under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. It was assigned with assisting landlords in the endeavour of transforming the agricultural production system, both at technical and financial level, and to directly proceed with the colonisation of the lands that the Institute acquired ownership or temporary possession for.
The institution absorbed the Istituto Vittorio Emanuele III per il bonificamento della Sicilia, as demanded by legal provision, and acquired its property rights as well as all active and passive juridical relations.
The framework seeking for the development of self-sufficient properties endowed with homesteads, considered also and included dispositions for the construction of rural villages (borgo rurale) that could attract farmers’ families in areas that, although fertile or rendered so by reclamation work, remained not favourable due to long distances from urban centres or existing house aggregations and, therefore, inadequate to provide most basic services.
The rural villages were conceived as small towns but in a modern architectural version, as equipped with main services (school, church, post office, drinking trough, carabinieri station, etc.). Emerging between the end of 1939 and 1940, were:
- Borgo Petilia [prov. di Caltanissetta]
- Borgo Lupo [prov. di Catania] – read more
- Borgo Giuliano [prov. di Messina] – read more
- Borgo Cascino [prov. di Enna] – read more
- Borgo Schirò [prov. di Palermo] – read more
- Borgo Fazio [prov. di Trapani] – read more
- Borgo Bonsignore [prov. di Agrigento]
- Borgo Rizza [prov. di Siracusa] – read more
By 10th July 1943, the day of the Allied invasion and the beginning of the state of emergency in Sicily, yet there were six other rural villages under construction – 5 of type A, 1 of type B and 1 of type C. These were:
- Borgo Callea [prov. di Agrigento]
- Borgo Guttadauro [prov. di Caltanissetta] – read more
- Borgo Caracciolo [prov. di Catania] – read more
- Borgo Borzellino [prov di Palermo] – read more
- Borgo Bassi [prov. di Trapani] – read more
- Borgo Ventimiglia – tipo B [prov. Catania]
- Borgo Fiumefreddo – di tipo C [prov. di Siracusa]
The Ente di Colonizzazione designed more rural centres to be built with the same characteristics as the previous ones, however, these remained only on paper. To integrate and complete the program meant at parcelling latifundia, there should be standing:
- Borgo Ingrao [prov. di Palermo] – read more
- Borgo Tagliavia o Bonanno [prov. di Palermo]
- Borgo Ferrara [prov. di Palermo]
- Borgo Quattro Finaite Giardo [prov. di Palermo]
- Borgo Burrainiti [prov. di Agrigento]
- Borgo Ciolino [Prov. di Caltanissetta] – read more
- Borgo Francavilla [Prov. di Messina] – read more
- Borgo Manganaro [Prov. di Palermo]
- Borgo Carrubba – di tipo C [prov. di Palermo]
The transitioning problem in Sicily after the end of the Second World War, from latifundia and agricultural labourer to small farmer properties, became part of an entirely new institutional set-up. Sure enough, in 1946 was established the Sicilian Region that was assigned with exclusive authority in the field of Agriculture as its Regional Assembly was entrusted with legislative power, “within the limits of the constitutional State laws and without prejudice to the Agrarian and Industrial Reforms, as deliberated by the Constituent of the Italian people”, in matters related to farming and forestry, including reclamation, civic uses, increase of agricultural production (along with the industrial one) and the valorisation, distribution and protection of agricultural products.
The Agrarian Reform in its two components, the parcelling and distribution of the estates and the granting technical assistance to farmers, was managed by the ‘Regional Department for Agriculture and Forestry’, which in its early years took advantage of the ‘Institute for Colonisation of the Sicilian Latifundium’, that in 1950 then assumed the name of ‘Institute for the Agrarian Reform in Sicily’ (ERAS) and that assimilated the already existing reclamation consortia.
With the Regional Law of 27th December 1950, n.104, called “Agrarian Reform in Sicily” and the actual deed of ERAS, there was disposition to ensure continuity to the Development Framework of rural villages, farmhouses, hilly reservoirs, aqueducts and drinking trough – thus validating and continuing the work of the ‘Institute for Colonisation’ on sound financial efficiency and the making farmers’ life in the countryside more comfortable.
With the following law – n. 9 of 5th April, 1954 – the Sicilian Region also decided to entrust ERAS (Institute for the Agricultural Reform) with the construction of other rural villages so to achieve its major priority of land reclamation, meanwhile keeping farmers as close as possible to the land and offering essential housing and services. On the basis of the subsequent council decree, the characteristics of each village had to be classified in detail, subdividing them in type A-B-C. According to this law some villages, whose construction had begun previously, were completed and others were built.
The Regional Law 10th August 1965, n. 21 turned ERAS into ESA, that followed through its task of reforming the latifundia by means of roads construction, transforming trails into roads, ensuring water supply, technical assistance to farmers, construction of reservoirs, dams, pipelines and electrical systems, but did not continue the commitment for the existing rural villages (belonging to regional property), though ESA was still in charge as leading authority.
Over the years the rural villages have lost their importance, some have been depopulated and left in state of neglect; in other cases, only common services are still in use.
Nowadays almost all villages have become property of the municipalities of reference as designated by ESA, that by then was still in charge for their management. Responsibilities were fully transferred to municipalities on the basis of art.1 of Law 890 of 8/6/1942 but with the constraint of perpetual use for public utility only.
Only a few villages are still inhabited by farmers as legitimate heirs of the Agrarian Reform, while others are partially illegally occupied. Some villages have been entrusted to cultural institutions or public authorities for temporary management, implementing only purposes of significant cultural interest or of other recognised bodies, institutions, foundations or associations. (e.g. Red Cross, Catholic Communities, etc.)
Currently, the following villages are left with ESA: