Sicilians who discovered the world

It is told that when Marco Polo arrived to the tents of Kulaí Khan, a brown young man approached him and he wondered if he had newses of Palermo. The Arabs were still in Sicily? And the Zisa and the Chapel Palatina were in good state? It was a long conversation before the Venetian with the relatives comes admitted in front of the sovereign Mongol's emperor. The Sicilian, told to the young merchant, that he was there from many years, and he despaired by to  see again anybody that speaks also approximately his language. He was full of questions: whoever was actual fashion poet ? When he left the island in company of some riders that were Crusaders, they enjoyed of Jacopo da Lentini, Ciullo d' Alcamo and other artists. Of such  unusual meetings the chronicle of our travellers and explorers from the 2nd and the 3rd hundred to last century, up to our days is rich. Everywhere, America or Singapore, Land of Fire in Argentina  or Australia or Milan, Rome, New York, Paris, you can meet Sicilians of Catania, of Gela, of Siracusa. Some occupy places of responsibility and of order, other has specialized in the services of public comfort: hotels, restaurants, cafe, pizzerie.The sell fruit: they deal in oranges, cedars, almonds, mandarins. They already belong to a superior category, economic operators are and everywhere be sure that they are rather rich, of a wealth even contagious and affirmed. Not few instead are concerned with art, the paint, the deal in pictures. For a Sicilian of good quality, each work is good, and everywhere put the hands he extract benefits, according to what the tradition punico-Greek  or Byzantine-Arabic. The leading component  Sicilians, Chartagos, Pune's, Greek, Romans, Svevi, and other it explains the anxiety of new countries that characterizes the good Sicilian character. There is not adventure, there is not commerce, consignment, exploration that becomes without the intervention of a Sicilian. While the Crusades invented the commerce of sacred relics, selling from a part Iof the shave beard of Mohammed and from the other bones of martyrdoms well polishes up, the Sicilians that knew the bothers of the heat, they installed florid markets of mandarins, lemons, oranges, sherbets and cold drinks. There wasn't the time  that whole countries, if not complete provinces, would have been emptied for the migratory flow; when all the valid men left for the distant America. It was dealt at the pure state, whose traces find again consulting the « Diccionario biographical of the conquistadores pobladores de Nueva Espana », appeared Madrid in the 1923 edited by the historical Francisco Icaza, or other similar publications. The catalog  it's not rich of characters but it presents itself particularly rich of separate characters. There we find a man called Giovanni Siciliano that participated in the year 1502 to the conquest of Mexico City, with its «own arms and mounts», this notation clarifies a social position, a  « Sicilian» state of comfort. But it must not be the true last name as rather an adjective, an epithet. A second warrior also from Sicily, as we can read  from the same Dictionary, also with« own arms and mounts», he arrived with other Spanish to the earth of Cibola today said Arizona. He was called Francesco Rosso. The third originated from Messina, like is name tells, Francesco da Messina; but the Medina in his known book « El Descubrimiento of the Pacific Ocean » assigns him to Lentini and not to Messina. Native of one or of the other center, we find him in the list of the adventurers that, in small number, accompanied Vasco Nuííez Balboa in the trip of discovery of the the Pacific Ocean in the 1513 (a paper stays still, by military Conservatory of Munich of Baviera, designed from the same Balboa, in which it is clearly suitable the discovery of the Sea of the South, with the explanation in big letters, Sea seen from the Castellianos). 
Historically these three adventurous of the XVI century are the first to trace the furrow that will be in the time followed from so much other their fellow citizens. Other three gifted Sicilians like the precedents of spirit of adventure, we find them in the following century, and always in America; two of Messina the brother Anthonio and Tommaso Grisafi. The third is a Jesuit missionary, the father of Francesco Piccolo. These were born at Palermo in the March of 1654, and reached America in the 1683, a collaborator of the Father was Giovanni Maria Salvaterra, to whose zeal it is given the first Catholic colonies of California, the first one was created at Loreto in South California in 1697. Staying to the book of the SchiavoFour Centuries of Italian  American History », appeared in the 1692 to New York, " the civil " history California has start from this point and not as usuallt think from the foundation of the colony of San Diego, work this of the activity of father Greenhouse, but of a century back, that is 1769. About the two Grisafi brothers there is a bibliography; we find sign of this in « The revolution of Messina against Spain », of the Guardione, edited in 1906 at Palermo; « La Révolte de Messine, l' expédition Sicile de et the politique française en Italie», of the Laloy, edited in Paris in the years 1929-31. The revolution, the insurrectionary mouvement of Messina against Spain are of the years 1674-78. France, busy at the beginning  in the help of the Sicilians, with the peace of Nimega of the 1678 abandoned Messina to the Spanish revenge, and the inhabitants of high social class, compromises notably, they mended in France choosing the way of  exiliation. Antonio and Tommaso Grisafi were between these people. 
They become officials of the French army, they moved in the colonies of the New France, Northern America, and here Antonio came honoured of the position of governor of the Fort of Onondaga, on the place where today Syracuse rises, in the year 1693, while he subsequently was engaged the charge of governor of the Fort of Three Rivers, that he maintained up to the year 1709, date of his death. From governor of Fort he advanced to general governor of all the territories and possessions of the New Spain, the footstep is along, but this came finished from another Sicilian, Michele la Grua Branciforte, a noble Spanish, that at the Court of Madrid covered notable charges for degree and importance. Before named general Captain of the fleet, he was in succession Governor of the group of the Canarie, Minister of Justice, gentleman of room of Charles III, and finally Vicerè of the New Spain. Information on La Grua takes off «historical Nobiliate of Italy from the Encyclopedia», third volume, page 593, of the Spreti, published at Milan in 1930. Founder of Santa Cruz in California, in the beginning in his honor the city came call with his name, Branciforte, from the 1797 to 1845. Today he is remembered simply with him assign his name to an of the principal roads of the Californian centre. Another Sicilian of the XVIII century is found at Cuba, where he died in 1767 after have teached in the college of the Jesuits of Belei. It was the Palermo's Jesuit, father Giuseppe Saverio Alagna. His portrait showed up to any time back in the refectory of the college of the Jesuits of the Avana, together to that of another Jesuit, father Giuseppe Maria, born at Naples in the 1704, dead in Florida in the 1744. One and the other for charge of the mother House disembarked to the River Miami (at the time called  Recover Ratones) July 13,1743, and the Alagna in that occasion designed the paper of the archipelago of islands and islets that goes from extreme Florida to Key West. For the death of the friend of trip, the mission of Alagna father didn't continue, and he returned in Portugal to take back the teaching in the college of Belen, near Lisbona. Also if not had up to today an adequate documentation, we could give for sure that we other Sicilians were in that time equipped with adventurous spirit in the American circumstances, or ispano-Americans; but most illustrious, most known Enrico Fardella of the marquises of Torrearsa stays, from Trapani, distingushed himself particularly during the ardent days of the Sicilian revolution against the Borboni, in the years of the 1848-49. Born March the 11th 1821, nephew of the general lieutenant was Gianbattista Fardella (1762-1836) that from the 1830 to the death had coveredhis Minister charge of minister of the War of the Kingdom of the two Sicilie
The young Fardella to the Fieravecchia one heroically won, he later was a part of the Committee for the War and the Marinate of the government revolutionize from Sicily, and named colonel of cavalry he fought again in Messina. Forced to run away came captured in Calabria and released under condition of expatriation and exile. Of warlike mind, fierce, we find again him in the battle of Balaclava, in the 1855, during the war of Crimea, and more ahead, in the '60, and following Garibaldi which  name him military governor of Trapani. At Milazzo in the July took much honor, but then the war has finished and Sicily enters to be a part of the kingdom, so he left for America, and to own expenses prepare a regiment in the 1861 of voluntary, exactly the 101° that made departs of the armed with the Potomac to the orders of the general George Mc Lellan. Also in this occasion  he distinguished for ability of order and impetus, so much (get the nomination from the President Lincoln and from the General . Years rich of fights, of guerrilla, of heroisms, which ever was not missing the Fardella, that creation in the 1864 185° regiment of voluntary, not few of which his fellow citizens, he went on to be a part of the Wessels division. Fallen in an ambush cleverly prepared to get him out, he came captured with his officials, to finish interned at Andersonville up to the cessation of the war of Secession. In 1872, we find him again at Trapani, received with the honors of the triumph, and there in the city native for six years covered the role of mayor. Dead July 5 1892, the inhabitants dedicated him the Civic Museum and the City library. A bronze portrait of him is shown up in the Civic Museum of New York, given to that city in the 1952 from the Association Italo-Amerícana from Sicily to the people of America. Initiated under the insignia of the risks, the Sicilian circumstance in America couldn't have a  better ending. The rest, from the second half of the Century 'till today, it is mere chronicle, full of people with Sicilian origins:
| Joe Di Maggio | Fiorello H. La Guardia mayor of New York (1940) | Frank Capra | Salvatore Di Marco | Liza Minnelli | Martin Scorsese | Al Pacino |
| Robert De Niro | Frank Sinatra | Mario Puzo | Silvester Stallone | John Travolta | Joe Grifasi | (my great-grandfather and his great-grandfather, were brothers),
| Michael Cimino | Joe Pesci |and many others of which I can't remember the name, and for this I beg your pardon.

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A. Grifasi 20/11/97
Italian Version
Angelo Grifasi did the translation

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