Contessa Entellina, Albanian oasis in Sicily • Italy

Discover the richness of Albanian culture and the history of the Orthodox church in Contessa Entellina, a picturesque village located in Sicily, Italy. Accompanied by explanatory text, the video of just over 3 minutes takes you on a journey through time and space. Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this place rich in cultural heritage. Watch now and let yourself be transported by the beauty of Contessa Entellina!

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Italy: Seductive Sicily 2022

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.

Contessa Entellina

Far from the tourist circuits, the small town of Contessa Entellina, located about 80 kilometers inland from Palermo, is the oldest of the Albanian colonies in Italy. The city has about 1500 inhabitants and is facing a slow decrease in its population due to the emigration of its youth.

Albanian immigration

If Sicily experienced a wave of immigration very early on from the Greeks fleeing overpopulation in their country from the 5th century BC, the history of Albanian immigration in the 15th century is much less known.

Albanian immigration is obviously much less important and spectacular than that of the Greeks, there are nonetheless living vestiges in the heart of Sicily.

In Contessa Entellina, we speak Arbëresh, an Italo-Albanian dialect originating from the south of Albania.

In the 15th century, mercenaries from the Balkans, called stradiotes, were in the service of the main city-states of the Italian peninsula, among others for the Republic of Venice or the Kingdom of Naples. A garrison of these mercenaries was quartered at the place which now bears the name of Contessa Entellina.

Then, the advance of the Ottaman troops in Albania caused an important emigration of the Christians towards other skies, of which some settled near this garrison.

This Albanian heritage is still very much alive in Contessa Entellina. Thus, the official documents of the municipality are written in Albanian and the Orthodox worship is practiced in the church.

Church of Contessa Entellina

The Church of Contessa Entellina dates from the arrival of these Albanian immigrants in the middle of the 15th century. This church is dedicated to the Virgin of the Annunciation and Saint Nicholas. It is a Byzantine church practicing Orthodox rites.


about the place, Contessa Entellina:

An Albanian population fleeing the advance of the Ottoman troops in the middle of the 15th century settled in this place, about 80 kilometers from Palermo. Nowadays, the inhabitants have preserved their Albanian culture and their Orthodox religion in the heart of Sicily.


Spoken comments in the film: 

In the 15th century, the Ottoman conquests pushed many Albanian Christians into exile. Some of them settled in Sicily, where for many years mercenaries from their region of origin served under the flags of the city-states of the Italian peninsula. The culture and traditions as well as the Orthodox religion are still very much alive today in villages like Contessa Entellina.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of italian traditional music in "Contessa Entellina, Albanian oasis in Sicily • Italy", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

What's the weather like in Contessa Entellina?

choir of the church of contessa Entellina, Contessa Entellina, Sicily • Italy
the choir of the byzantine church, Contessa Entellina • Italy • Sicily

the choir of the byzantine church

Albanian coat of arms in the church, Contessa Entellina • Italy • Sicily

Albanian coat of arms in the church

statue of saint Nicholas, Contessa Entellina • Italy • Sicily

statue of saint Nicholas

a square in the village, Contessa Entellina • Italy • Sicily

a square in the village

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