Borgetto Cultural Association

Borgetto Cultural Association was founded in 1962. For all information on Borgetto, Sicily, including Events, Promotional Items, History on Borgetto and Membership and Donations, please follow the links or email us at [email protected]. Grazie.

Borgetto Cultural Administration

The celebration of Our Lady of Sorrows of Romitello August 25/26/27

Sanctuary of the Madonna Del Romitello

The church located at 590 m (a.s.l.) was founded in 1464 by the Benedictine monk B. Giuliano Mayali. Mayali went to the woods to pray in the utmost tranquility, in perfect solitude, and through meditation, he was in harmony and communion with God. The tradition says that one day, in a place not far from the small church built in 1410 (S. Maria delle Ciambre), a great glow of the Virgin Mary appeared to Mayali, through a tree. The image of the sorrowful depicted the deposition of Jesus from the cross to his mother’s knees. Mayali built a small oratory (now a sanctuary) next to the boulder, and he had the walls painted with the mysteries of our Lord’s passion and the Sorrows of the Virgin. Beato lived in those places from 1463 to 1470, spending a miserable life, feeding himself with roots, bread and water. He died on October 4, 1470. Since the 15th century, that small sanctuary was the destination of many pilgrims, and in the centuries to come, the image of the Madonna Del Romitello (which took the name of the place itself) has always been treated by the faithful; in fact, not by chance and in the presence of the Archbishop of Monreale (to whose Diocese belongs Borghetto) following a clear series of physical cures for sick people and by decree of August 31, the great Archbishop of Monreale declares in 1896 as prodigious the image of Our Lady of Sorrows, and in 1920, thanks to the merciful work of Passionists Fathers, Borgetto obtained the decree of the solemn coronation of the Vatican, which was completed on August 27, 1922. Every year, in May, and in remembrance of Our Lady of Sorrows, both in the village and in the sanctuary the faithful and Fathers, in communion with God, begin an intense preparation of religious life, organizing days dedicated to young people, to the sick, to children, to families. On the evening of May 10th, the picture of the Virgin is taken down to the village, where it’s located in the mother church of where it remains throughout in May, and on the first Sunday of June the sacred effigy returns to the sanctuary.

From August 25th to 27th, Our Lady of Sorrows of the Romitello returns to the village; the population celebrates the week of permanence with significant religious and costume initiatives and sees as the final moment the solemn procession and the so-called “Locu di Focu,” long awaited by the collectivity.

In the church, in addition to the painting of the Madonna del Romitello, oval picture of the ’700 with silver frames and friezes, adorned with two precious gold crowns and gems, you can admire a wax statue of the ’700 of Our Lady of Sorrows.

The devotion for the madonna of Romitello in America


The devotion to the Madonna del Romitello has no boundaries. For half a century, the community of the Borgettans residing overseas, dedicates, with tremendous and spirit of sacrifice, two days of celebration to the miraculous Virgin. This year, the celebrations were presided over by Father Francesco Di Mariano, Passionist Superior of the Sanctuary that dominates the small town of the province of Palermo, which has always been a pilgrimage destination. The prelate, at the invitation of the Borgio Cultural Association Maria Santissima del Romitello of Astoria, flew to America to celebrate mass in the parish church of San Luca in Whitestone, and lead the processional procession. Yes, because for 50 years, the cultural association that brings together all the families of Burgettans who have found the second homeland in the United States, every year brings in procession, through the streets of Queens, the statue of Our Lady venerated in the native country.

And not only that, President Salvatore Giambrone and the entire board of the club, even for this edition, have worked hard to set up a real recreational program to relive, in some way, the same festive atmosphere that in these days animates Borgetto. At the Flushing Memorial Park, they organized an evening of music with the Italian Band “Armonia”; while in the square of the Church of San Luca have created entertainment for children and made to mount the stalls to taste bread and panelle, arancine and fried muffuletto. All broadcast live on Radio 1 in New York. An excellent job for all the members of the social club, every day committed to transmitting the love for Borgetto to the new generations so that the traditions of the country of origin are never lost.



General Information

Borgetto is a Sicilian municipality of about 6100 inhabitants, in the province of Palermo, at a distance of about 25 km. Located at the foot of Mount Crocefia, about 280 meters above sea level, occupies a privileged and central area in the Gulf of Castellammare. This county borders the following municipalities: Partinico, Montelepre, Giardinello and Monreale.

According to the linguists, the name of the village is derived from the Greek word “Burgos,” or more probably from the Arabic word “Burg,” which means respectively “castle” and “tower”; this is deduced from the emblem of the Municipality that depicts a tower.

The Story

As for the story of Borgetto, the first document we received is a parchment of 1294, preserved in the state archive of Palermo. In this document, we read of a certain Simone d’Esculo, a noble citizen of Palermo, possessor of a fief and hamlet called Borgetto, near the vast forest of Palermo.

In 1337, the fief passed into the hands of Margherita d’Escolo. She decided to present the fief to the abbot of the monastery of San Martino delle Scale, around 1350-1360. A condition of this gift was that the abbot built a monastery, the monastery of Santa Maria delle Ciambre, in the village. In 1413, due to a new inheritance, the friars of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Ciambre had to build the monastery of the Madonna del SS. Romitello. According to another source, Margherita d’Escolo bought Borgetto township in 1351 and, in her testament; she presented the town of Abbot Siniso in 1360. He also left some money for the monks for the construction of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Ciambre. Finally, it’s certain that Borgetto was a fief of the Benedictines in the late Middle Ages.

Famous People

Salvatore Salomone Marino: (1847-1916) Born and died in Borgetto.

He wrote about the folklore and traditions of Sicilian peasants. His best-known work with the peasants is “The Baroness of Carini.”

Giuseppe Fortunato Pirrone:

He was born in 1898 in Borgetto, and he’s a well-known artist and sculptor. He moved from Borgetto to Mazara del Vallo in 1902. Beyond being a sculptor, he was a medalist and a caricaturist.

Teofilo Folengo:

He began to live at the Abbey of Santa Maria delle Ciambre in 1537. Using the pseudonym Merlinus Cocaius, he was the most important of the Italian macaronic poets. Folengo wrote “La Palermitana” and “Hageomachia” when he lived in Borgetto.


Between 1861 and 1921, there was an increase of 4,457 people (6,011 in 1861 and 10,468 in 1921). In 1921 the population was the largest in the history of the township. Between 1921 and 1931, there was a decrease of 4289 people, the largest for the country in the shortest time. Between 1930 and 1971, there was a decrease of 314 people (5,865). In 2001, there were 6,242 inhabitants.

Borgetto – Good Friday

The Good Friday Procession in Borgetto is the most heartfelt religious manifestation, the Confraternity of the Dead Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows deals with the procession and all the rites of the Holy Week.

Origins of the name Borgetto


What is the meaning of Borgetto?

What is its origin? BORGETTO, from the Latin Burgetum and from the Sicilian Burgettu, is found for the first time in parchment of 1294, whose documentary value highlights a dispute arising from the question of borders between a feudatory of Borgetto and one of Partinico.

Erroneously, many make the origin of the name Borgetto to the village, so we have Borgetto = small town, but referred to which city?

Borgo di Palermo, maybe? It doesn’t seem possible since the metropolis is too far away; not even Partinico since it was a village like ours. Rocco Pirri, the scholar of 1700, ventured this hypothesis, but his thesis was contested by other scholars like Scaligero, Causabono, Cuajacio and Pasqualino, who trace the semantic origin of the word from the Greek “Pyrgos” or “Byrgos” which means tower, castle and fortress.

In fact, it’s historically known that the new urban areas were born around a fortress to guarantee security and to defend their lord. If we look at the municipal coat of arms, this is represented by a crenellated tower and a rampant lion that unequivocally highlights the feudal origins of Borgetto. On a topographic map of 1400, there’s a castle with a tower and the inscription “lu casali di lu Burgettu.”

In a civil act of 1856 in the municipality of Borgetto is indicated a road called “Largo Castellaccio” corresponding to the current “Largo Migliore,” the castle could then be in that place to dominate the area below Jazzo Vecchio, where the first feudal settlers had apparently been quartered. Therefore, the exact origin of the word Borgetto undoubtedly refers to a majestic and superb castle that dominated over its entire territory.

Culture and Tradition

Borgetto is more well-known for the “The Dinners of San Giuseppe” feast

The “promising” (promise) is the fundamental reason that pushes some families of the town of Borgetto to continue a prevalent tradition, which for centuries every year, for the day of St. Joseph, is repeated: “The Dinners of San Giuseppe, or Artari, or San Giuseppe Parati.” The primary purpose is the charitable one towards needy families so that the bread is never lacking. We want to invite to the table three poor children, who recall the flight of Jesus, Joseph and Mary from Egypt, to whom lunch is served between songs and dialectical nursery rhymes.

Thanksgiving to the Holy Joseph by grace received is made in the form of food supplies, and all that can be useful to the three poor children who represent the Holy Family.

Preparations begin months before, engaging mainly the women of the family who are helped by their relatives to set aside their own room to create an altar with the table, so that the day of St. Joseph can be visited by people who come from the outside to which pieces of homemade bread with olives are offered.

From an old house of the seventeenth century, a procession winds through the streets of the town. A small plastic iconography formed by a donkey carrying the Virgin, and the child Jesus pulled by the good Joseph, arrives on the sacrament of the Mother Church where groups of three children will be blessed for families who go to the canteens preceded by a “tamburiata,” while reciting of the parts in ancient Sicilian.

Saint Joseph represents the Father, the Patriarch: the sage with the flowing white beard that gives off resignation, the craftsman, but above all the father of the family a central figure that the Sicilian tradition attributes to the head of the most elementary nucleus that is the family.

The visit to the canteens begins on the evening of March 18th and continues until late at night to continue the next day. A huge flow of people invades the streets of the country to visit the dinners of San Giuseppe distributed in various houses; people come from all over Sicily, and curious visitors will distinguish the most beautiful and best-organized altar and, if necessary, the emigrants take advantage to return and review the canteens.

The American exiles in the Astoria and Whitestone district of New York hold the same tradition, and every year, those who can’t return, send offers or nostalgically repeat the canteens in that distant continent.

In Borgetto the canteens with the altar can be of two types: “parati,” in which the room occupied in full is lavish and full of every good god, or “private,” that is modest and with the decoration of a single room wall.

The first course is served with pasta with sardines and breadcrumbs, followed by sardines or egg balls, then fried food and desserts and to finish fresh and dried fruit.

This traditional religious folklore event has for years become part of the Sicilian tourist itinerary.

The Rituals of San Giuseppe in Borgetto and New York

MARCH 20, 2013 – 2:00 PM, BY DRAFTING

It was the exciting performance of the parties that every year, in the day of San Giuseppe in Borgetto, is represented in front of every Canteen. A ritual that narrates the flight to Egypt of the Holy Family, depicted by the three children, dressed in white tunics, chosen by each landlady to implement the spirit of charity that animates the tradition of Artari Parati in honor of the Patriarch. A tradition, also renewed yesterday, continued with the lunch of the children in the canteen that takes place with a well-codified and rigid ritual.

In fact, the three children are fed by three people carrying a white and embroidered cloth towel over their left shoulder. The babies must eat, first of all, at least the first three bites of all prepared food, after which you can distribute the dishes to everyone present. The first course that’s tasted by the three children is pasta with sardines and breadcrumbs, followed by crumb meatballs. Finally, the desserts: cassatelle, pignoccata, sfinge, cannoli, pecorelle of real pasta, Easter eggs, to finish with fresh and dried fruit. At the end of the lunch, the bread on the central altar and all that has been placed on the side tables is taken to give it to the three children who, with the help of their parents and relatives, bring everything to their homes. An emotion to which even the townspeople who live abroad, very close to the cult of St. Joseph, don’t renounce. This year, overseas, the Mensa was set up in the New York office of the Astoria Borgetto Club Maria Santissima Addolorata di Rolo. The initiative was of the new president Salvatore Giambrone who, using the collaboration of the entire board and members, but above all of the devout women, has recalled the tradition of the land of origin. With great faith and devotion, even if on the other side of the globe, they try to fill the void created by nostalgia for their country, but above all for those events that are part of their culture and identity. Some townspeople return to Sicily for the occasion, others, unable to return because of work commitments, send dollars for the cause, but in the distant continent they manage to relive the same emotion, and above all, to instill in the new generations the religious and supportive spirit that characterizes the event.

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