The history of Polizzi Generosa dates back to very ancient
have discussed, at length, about its beginnings. Some claim that it was
“Sicilian” Athens mentioned by Diodorus. Others write that the name
from the Palic Gods, sons of Thalia, a nymph who gave her name to a water
spring, called Naftolia.
Many others believe that the town was founded by the survivors of Palica, the
town destroyed by Ducetius. The discovery of the statue of Isis,
unfortunately lost, made some historians think that the name could have
meant the “town of Isis.”
Many Punic and Roman findings have been unearthed in Polizzi and in the
surrounding areas; some dating back to the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.
present-day town developed during the Byzantine period, when it was given the
name of Basileopolis (the City of the King.)
During the Norman domination, around 1080, Roger, the Normand,
the fortress and the castle; his niece, Countess Adelaida, Patroness of
Polizzi, energized the town with new life. Polizzi was always a town-state,
except for a very short period of time, and its inhabitants always defended
Frederick II gave the town the title of “Generosa” (Generous), which
part of its official name to this day. The town had its own form of
government and its Statutes which, even today, are still admired for their
fairness. Polizzi attracted even monarchs, such as Queen Elisabetta
d’Aragona; her son, Ludovico, King of Trinacria; Queen Mary, wife of Martino,
the Young; his wife, Queen of Navarra
and Vicegerent of the Kingdom of Sicily, and Emperor Charles V, who was a
guest of Gian Bartolo Farina in 1535, and who established the Senate of
The existence of many noble families and the strong presence of Religious
Orders enriched the town with churches, monasteries and works of art.
town’s most important period was the Renaissance for the blossoming of its
artistic creativity, specifically Ligurian, Tuscan and Lombard art,
was strongly favored by the aristocracy.
Cultural life was also very flourishing in Polizzi. The first public
opened in 1428. In 1572, the Jesuits opened the first elementary school,
later on, a more advanced school of grammar, rethoric, philosophy and
Of great renown is also the Lancia di Brolo Municipal Library with more than
35.000 volumes, precious incunabula, and 730 volumes dating back to the 15th
The decline of Polizzi began when the plague stroke the town at the end of
the 16th century. What followed was a period of strife between the
and the Bourgeoisie Class, the so-called “Civilians” who were trying to be
elected to public offices.
Polizzi was at the avant-garde for social works and public health. Since
Middle Ages, the town had hospitals, and it is one of the first towns in
Sicily where Luigi Rampolla, an engineer, built an electric plant and
produced electricity, as early as1901, at a time when, even large cities, had
still gas lamps.