Riesi is a comune (municipality) in the
Province of Caltanissetta
Province of Caltanissetta in
the Italian region Sicily, located about 110 kilometres (68 mi)
Palermo and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of
Caltanissetta. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 11,678
and an area of 66.6 square kilometres (25.7 sq mi).
Riesi borders the following municipalities: Barrafranca, Butera,
Mazzarino, Pietraperzia, Ravanusa, Sommatino.
2 Politics and social situation
7 Demographic evolution
9 External links
Riesi was founded in the 13th century. In the period of Arab rule over
the island, the area was called "abandoned place" or "fallow".
Until the 1920s, many of the city's inhabitants worked in the nearby
sulphur mines Trabbia and Tallarita. The owners of the mine greatly
exploited the impoverished population. Many families had to let their
children work in the mines as indentured servants in order to survive.
As you enter the city today, there is a large memorial commemorating
the sufferings of the miners.
In 1961, the Waldensian minister Tullio Vinay founded the "Servizio
Cristiano" (Christian service) to fight poverty. In the beginning, the
key aims were to promote literacy among children and teenagers, with
later initiatives promoting agriculture and vocational training.
Today, the Waldensian church operates a kindergarten, an elementary
school, a guest house, a family health centre, and a small farm.
Politics and social situation
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this
section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material
may be challenged and removed. (March 2017) (Learn how and when to
remove this template message)
Riesi suffers from a strong organized crime presence. It is the
hometown of the notorious Mafia boss Giuseppe Di Cristina. Every year,
conflicts within the Mafia lead to casualties. In the spring of 2006,
Giorgio Napolitano dismissed the mayor and the city council
from their offices because of evidence of links to organized crime.
Until a new city council election in 2008, as in previous such
periods, the city was governed provisionally by the regional
government in Palermo.
High poverty before the close of World War II and the ongoing
difficult social situation have forced many Riesini to emigrate.
Popular destinations, apart from the large cities in Italy, have been
Belgium and Sweden. Many Riesini still leave their homes after
graduating from high school in order to find a job or training in one
of Italy's large cities. Therefore, Riesi's actual population lies far
below the official number.
Since the decline of the sulfur industry, the city subsists on
agriculture. Olives, almonds, wheat, fruit, artichokes, and other
vegetables are cultivated. There are a cooperative and two private oil
mills. The wine cooperative of the region is located in Riesi, where
it operates a wine press. There is also a small goldsmith manufacturer
and a few small mechanical engineering companies, including
Traditionally, the population has been Catholic. In the 19th century,
the Waldensians, an old Protestant church from Northern Italy, gained
influence through missionary activity in many parts of Sicily. For a
short period, more than half the population called itself
"Waldensians", although they still attended Catholic masses on
Sundays. This caused the Curia to send the
Salesians of Don Bosco
Salesians of Don Bosco to
the island in order to reconvert the converts. Today, only a tiny
Waldensian community of about 60 parishioners with their families has
remained. Returning emigrants brought foreign confessions to the city.
This is why there are also two Pentecostalist churches and a kingdom
hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Church of Madonna Santissima della Catena, built in the first half of
the 17th century
Church of San Giuseppe, built in the 19th century
Architectural ensemble "Monte degli Ulivi" for the institutions of the
Servizio Cristiano belonging to the Waldensian church, built in
1963–66, architect Leonardo Ricci, one of the most notable examples
of Italian architecture in the 20th century.
Easter festivities, especially on
Good Friday including passion plays,
processions and a folk festival
Church anniversary of Santissima Madonna della Catena on the second
Sunday in September with processions and a folk festival
Church anniversary of St.
John Bosco with processions in January
^ All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute
Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia
The "Servizio Cristiano"
Sicily · Comuni of the Province of Caltanissetta
Santa Caterina Villarmosa