A BRIEF HISTORY OF VALLEDOLMO (PA) translation by Giuseppe Castelli
3.747 in habitants ( Municipal data 2011 census)
The people are called Valledolmesi
Located 90 km from the capital of Sicily (Palermo)
780 m above sea level
Area 25.84 sq km
Patron saint: Saint Anthony of Padua
Valledolmo resides on a valley which spreads out from Mt. Sampieri (1081 m) and Mt. Campanaro to Mount Cammarata (1576 m). The first to build the new village was Antonio Cicala, a noble of Genovese origin whose ancestors had come to Sicily in the XV century. He founded it without asking the prescribed Licentia Populandi (="license to decimate" or "license to ravage”) or being officially invested as Lord of Valle dell’Ulmo. Extending around the lower edge of a bronze bell in a small church built by Antonio Cicala and still existing today, it is possible to read “D. ANTONINO CICALA. BARONE DI VALLE DELL’ULMO.” (D. Antonino Cicala, Baron of the Ulmo Valley1645). The official founder of Castel Normanno (later called Valle dell’Ulmo,for the presence of a huge elm tree in the valley, and Valledolmo from the second half of the past century) was Lord Antonio Cicala’s nephew, Count Giuseppe Mario Cutelli who obtained the Licentia Populandi on 17th August 1650. The territory of Castel Normanno was originally formed by the fiefs of Valli di l’ulmu, Chifiliana, Mezzamandranuova and Castelluzzi, all belonging in 1650 (except the last one) to the barony of Don Giuseppe Cutelli. In 1655 Don Giuseppe Cutelli’s wife, the Countess Anna Summaniata, died at the age of 19 (the mausoleum erected by the count can still be admired today in the Chiesa delle Anime Sante – Church of the Holy Souls. Following several years of mourning, Don Giuseppe Cutelli married Donna Maria Abatellis, the daughter of Count Ferdinando Cutelli Grimaldi and Anna Abatellis Tornabene. The count died on 24th November 1673 and against his wish to be buried in Castel Normanno, he was entombed in the Chiesa di San Francesco di Paola out of Porta Carini in Palermo.
BETWEEN HISTORY AND LEGENDS
The count’s son, Don Antonio Cutelli invested himself Lord of Castel Normanno. Don Antonio Cutelli was an egocentric and haughty person with abrupt manners. The great difference between his behavior and his father’s turned the people against him; in fact, one day he was killed while abusing of the jus prime noctis (right of the first night). This was the first recorded act of violence in Castel Normanno. One of his peasants, Pietro Corvo, had a charming daughter and she was soon to get married. Cutelli wanted to benefit of jus prime noctis, but was impeded by Corvo who was well built and of sound character. The count did not want to give up easily and so one night in August 1711, he told Corvo to go to Palermo and bring some wild game to an influential friend. In the meantime he had ordered two trusted villains to get rid of Corvo. However, one of them was a good friend of the intended victim, and did not feel to commit the crime; so he went and told him about the order he had received from the count. Corvo told him to act as if they had not met and go with his companion to the place of the ambush. The next day, the count, certain that the Corvo had been eliminated, went out with his horse and on his return coming near the victim’s door, in a distressing tone of voice, cried out “Poviru Pietru Corvu! Poviru figghiu Corvu!” ( Poor Pietro Corvo! Poor son Corvo!) wanting Corvo’s family to know that he had been informed of the assassination of the beloved Pietro. The pretence was soon put to an end: he was shot in the head by Colvo himself with a harquebus and fell heavily from his saddle to the ground in a pool of blood. The Count was buried in the above-mentioned magnificent mausoleum built by his son Giovanni in the Chiesa della Madonna del Buon Pensiero (after called Chiesa delle Anime Sante). The histrorian Granata recounts that some friends of the Count put a price on Corvo’s head. The reward attracted Sulivestru from Palermo who started hunting the fugitive Corvo. While searching, he met a woodman who put him on the right track. When they got near a fountain, the woodman bent to drink and the hunter did the same putting down his harquebus. With cat-like agility, the woodman grabbed the gun and in a flash shot the hunter dead. The body of Sulivestru was found after a few days. Still today the place where the body was found is called “Passu du poviru Sulivestru” ( Poor Silvester’s Way ). The “rich reward” for the fugitive was never collected , because Corvo, like his namesake “the raven” did not allow anyone to get him, dead or alive. In 1712 Giovanni Mario Cutelli was granted the feudal investiture diploma. He was a sweet tempered man of good qualities; from the beginning he exercised his feudal powers peacefully and with generosity. He was a lawyer and had a great knowledge of the legal disciplines. He held his own with his great-grandfather Mario Cutelli, a jurist from Catania, who was the pride of the illustrious family. His vassals past to his sister Cristina, wife of Giovanni Ioppolo and Baron of San Filippo. They did not have any male children either and after their death, their daughter Girolama Ioppolo succeeded as Baroness of Valledolmo and Aliminusa. She married Matteo Lucchesi-Palli, Duke of the Fabbrica, and on 16th July 1746 they received the feudal investiture with viceregal diploma. They built the magnificent water cistern called Stagnone (1746-1774).
Orazio Granata “Valledolmo dall’origine ai giorni nostri”
Traslation by Giuseppe Castelli