Canicattì is a comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

(municipality) in the Province of Agrigento
Province of Agrigento
Agrigento is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. It has an area of 3,042 km², and a total population of 454,370...

 in the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 region Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, located about 90 km southeast of Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 and about 25 km east of Agrigento
Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...



The archaeological remains in the city and in the neighbourhood testify the presence of a settlement before the Roman age
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

. The name of Canicattì is of Arabic origin, stemming from Handaq-attin, meaning "clay ditch". During the conqest of Sicily by the Normans, the local Muslim lord was besieged and defeated by baron Salvatore Palmeri (1087), a follower of Roger I of Sicily
Roger I of Sicily
Roger I , called Bosso and the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy.-Conquest of Calabria and Sicily:...

: the latter, as reward, offered him a sword and the lordship over the fief. Under the Palmieri rule the Arab fortress was enlarged, becoming a true castle with a tower.

The Normans were followed by the Hohenstaufen
The House of Hohenstaufen was a dynasty of German kings in the High Middle Ages, lasting from 1138 to 1254. Three of these kings were also crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In 1194 the Hohenstaufens also became Kings of Sicily...

 and the French Angevines
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

, in turn ousted by the Aragonese
House of Aragon
The House of Aragon is the name given several royal houses that ruled the County, the Kingdom or the Crown of Aragon.Some historiansGuillermo Fatás y Guillermo Redondo, Alberto Montaner Frutos, Faustino Menéndez Pidal de Navascués...

. In 1448 the fief of Canicattì was ceded by Antonio Palmieri, who was heirless, to his nephew Andrea De Crescenzio, who obtained by king John II of Aragon
John II of Aragon
John II the Faithless, also known as the Great was the King of Aragon from 1458 until 1479, and jure uxoris King of Navarre from 1425 until his death. He was the son of Ferdinand I and his wife Eleanor of Alburquerque...

 the Licentia populandi, i.e. the permission to enlarge the fief's boundaries, increase its population and administer justice. Under Andrea De Crescenzio Canicattì was a rural community including some 1000/1500 inhabitants, living in the upper part of the town. Andrea De Crescenzio was succeeded by his son Giovanni, who, having no sons, left the barony to his father-in-law Francesco Calogero Bonanno, in 1507.

Under the Bonannos the town experimented a considerable demographic growth, and received several large edifices and fountains. The Bonanno seigniory started to decline from the later 18th century. In 1819 the last Bonanno left Canicattì to baron Gabriele Chiaramonte Bordonaro. After the riots of 1848 and 1859/1861, and the unification of Italy
Expedition of the Thousand
The Expedition of the Thousand was a military campaign led by the revolutionary general Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. A force of volunteers defeated the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, leading to its dissolution and annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, an important step in the creation of a newly...

, banks, mills and plants were built in the town, increasing its trades. For the whole 20th century the economy remained based on agriculture (mostly grapes), trades and services.

In 1943 it was the seat of the Canicattì massacre, in which American troops killed several Italian civilians.

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