SUMMER 2018 I TALIAN A MERICAN D IGEST CLUB NEWS PAGE 13 Two Generations Trace Contessa and Schiro History Emperor by Pope Honorius. In 1250, Pope Clement IV formed an alliance with the communes and n 1886, a group of Arabreshe men conferred the crown of Sicily to founded the Società Italiana di Charles I, brother of Louis IX of Beneficenza Contessa Entellina, a France. Sicilians were not satisfied mutual aid and fraternal organiza- with French lords after the capital tion—the first Italian society formed was transferred from Palermo to in New Orleans. Naples. It became known as the “two Sources for our history are from Sicilies.” In the struggle, Sicilians Leita Spoto, our genealogist; Nino were aided by Peter III, King of Ara- Schiro, a Contessa-born resident; gon of Spain. For more than a cen- Brett Clesi, historian of the Contessa tury, Naples and Sicily were united. Entellina Society in New Orleans; In 1806, Napoleon appointed his Gasper J. Schiro; and his father, Jo- brother Joseph king of Naples while seph Schiro, who published the story Ferdinand IV was relegated to Sicily. in the Dixie magazine of the Times- The congress of Vienna restored the Picayune on October 16, 1983. Bourbons to the two Sicilies. The title of the article was “The In 1860, volunteers from Piedmont Stalwart Sons of Contessa Entellina,” written by Dalt Wonk. Photos includ- under Garibaldi sailed from Geneva ed the town of Contessa, the Contessa to assist insurgents gaining victories as they swelled in numbers at Cal- Entellina Society tomb on Avenue B in old Metairie Cemetery, the Society atafimi, driving Neapolitan troops from Sicily. Garibaldi met with little in front of St. Louis Cathedral, and resistance, and the kingdom of the the Contessa band (featuring Luke two Sicilies ceased to exist. Parlia- Schiro with his clarinet). ment made it part of Italy in 1961. There is also a photo, on the So- There are three lines of Schiros not ciety’s 40th Anniversary in 1926, of related by blood. Nino Schiro is of Joseph and Anthony Tortorich with the Inzolia line. The third Schiro line the Arbreshe coat of arms in their was traced to about 1645 in Contessa. restaurant, Royal House. The town of Contessa Entellina Katherine Nicolosi Vindigni had was settled from 1469 to 1521 by ref- a copy of her family history. The story was told by Katherine’s mother, ugees from Caradona and other pure emigrant families of the Peloponnese, Angelica Nicolosi. A nephew, Peter the Corone nobility. Albania fell to Milone, recorded the story from the the Turks, and Islam was introduced. interview and probably did the re- In Italy, Alfonso offered refuge to search on history as follows: thousands of Albanians. In decades to Sicily lies almost in the center of follow, refugees arrived in southern the Mediterranean Sea, with Catania Italy, mainly in Calabria. A few were to the east separated from Calabria nobles and some had been soldiers; and the Strait of Messina by 2 miles. After the fall of the Roman Empire in others were clergy, farmers or crafts- 476 A.D., Sicily and Italy came under men, all in search of a better life and one rule by the Greeks. For 200 years, freedom from Turkish oppression. In 1480, the Turks attacked the Italian Germans, Greeks and Arabs were in coast and briefly occupied the city of constant warfare. Otranto. Over the next two decades, By 1000 A.D., Sicily was the cen- one Albanian town after another fell ter of Arabic civilization. Frederick to Turkish control. II established his capital in Palermo, and in 1220 was made Holy Roman Contessa cont. on page 24 by Gasper Schiro, Joyce Schiro, and Vincenzo Salemo I Contessa Entellina Society Names New Secretary, Toasts Tricentennial A by Gasper Schiro t its recent May meeting the Contessa Entellina Society elected Justin Genovese, 28, its new secretary. A champagne and cannoli reception followed. The 131-year-old society was in- vited to join the tricentennial proces- sion at St. Louis Cathedral with the large Blessed Mother Society banner leading Archbishop Gregory Aymond into the Cathedral. The society represented the Ital- ians, Greeks, and Albanians of New Orleans. In February the society had its an- nual “Day at the Races,” which was a well-attended and fun event. Finally, the society announced plans for its 132nd annual anniver- sary, when its new members will be presented. The banquet will be held at the Chateau Country Club on Sunday, September 2. The Christmas cham- pagne buffet will be on Sunday, December 16.