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The origins of Larderia

The most founded hypothesis on the origins of the toponym Larderia (known in the past also in the variant Lardarìa, still present in the dialect) is the one according to which it would derive from the same root of the Greek verb αρδέυω/άρδω (“to water”, “to irrigate”) . From it, through the epentesis of the article (L’Ardaria), the term “Lardaria” was formed with the meaning of “place rich in water”.


This hypothesis is confirmed by the endowment document of the Brazilian abbey of Santa Maria di Mili (1092) in Mili San Pietro, in which Count Roger I of Altavilla - while indicating the boundaries of the abbey territory - remembers “the great river”, clearly identifiable with today’s Larderia stream.


Other hypotheses are:

  • “place for lard production and storage” or a “grasceta” (a fat and fertile land) used for pasture of pigs and wild boars
  • from the Latin Lardārĭa, feminine name indicating “lady who trades or sells lard or pigs”, maybe as a memory of a whole category of breeders or of an ancient and thriving economic activity particularly practiced in those places in Roman times
  • from the Arabic expression “Al-Ard Arivah” that means “The land (Al-Ard) of freedom (Arivah)”
  • from the Greek word “Ardaleia, Ardalia” that means “Ardalo’s”, son of God Hephaestus (or Vulcan), considered the mythical inventor of flute and of vocal accompaniment with this instrument
  • from the feminine Greek name “Ardelis” that means “The industrious” from which “Ardeleia, Ardelia” derives.


For the terms of Greek derivation, the dialectal agglutination of the initial "L" with the function of article (L'Ardalìa, L'Ardelìa) and the consequent replacement of the one of the last syllable with an "R" may have been produced, thus originating the present "Larderìa".

Between past

& present

The first information date back to the 14th century: in the notes of Ratione Decimarum the hamlet of Larderia is mentioned (sometimes called Lardaria).

After the anti-Spanish revolt in Messina in 1674-78, the Viceroy of Sicily, under the order of the Spanish crown, confiscated the mountain farmhouses belonging to the Senate of the city ZANCLEANA and sold them in 1684.  The farmhouses in Larderia, San Filippo Inferiore and San Filippo Superiore, were purchased by Luigi Moncada Montalto (1643-1703), son of Giacomo II prince of Calvaruso. This is reported by the deed of sale preserved at Palermo local library. [2] Moncada, on the above-mentioned purchased hamlets, was invested with the title of 1st Prince of Larderia with a privilege given by King Charles II of Spain on 4th December 1690, enforced on 9th June 1691.


In 1727, the Emperor Charles VI of Habsburg ordered the Viceroy of Sicily, Cardinal Joaquín Fernández de Portocarrero, to buy back by the Senate of Messina the farmhouses confiscated by the Spanish Crown after the rebellion of 1674-78. By doing so the feudal dominion of the Moncada over Larderia came to an end, and Larderia with its approximately 700 inhabitants became a city municipality. [1] [4] The Moncadas retained the title of Princes of Larderia, which however passed as a dowry to the Platamone through the marriage of Rosalia Moncada Branciforte (1758-1802) - last descendant of the family - who had married Baldassarre Platamone of the Dukes of Belmurgo. [3]

The building, in ancient times named Convent of Sant'Anna, housed a community of nuns until after the mid- 19th century.



The original plan dates back to the early 14th century; afterwards, the building was modified at the beginning of the 18th  century by the Moncadas.

The terrible storm happened on 30 September 1837 in the countryside near Messina, that affected especially the hamlets between Larderia and Bordonaro, reduced the building to a ruin.


In the 2000s, works were carried out to bring to light the ground floor and to reconstruct what was destroyed by floods and the damaged by the passing of time.

Today the facade is marked vertically by the windows that appear in their limestone frames and longitudinally by a white and linear stringcourse cornice. The main door stands out between two pilasters surmounted by a round arch of ashlar stones, all made of limestone.


[1] - G. Di Marzo, Dizionario topografico della Sicilia di Vito Amico, Salvatore Di Marzo, 1858, pp. 581-582.

[2] - I manoscritti della Biblioteca comunale di Palermo, vol. 1, Tipografia Virzì, 1884, p. 322.

[3] - Salta a: a b V. Spreti, Enciclopedia storico-nobiliare italiana, vol. 4, Forni, 1981, pp. 643-644.

[4] - R.Martini, La Sicilia sotto gli austriaci (1719-1734), Accademia Nazionale di Scienze, Lettere e Arti, 1989, p. 218.