CARINI 1850The particular shape of the territory has made possible Carini to be inhabited since when men appeared on earth. Carini’s grottos have given to us many fossils of the Quaternary era fauna, among which are dwarves elephants (Elephas mnaidrensis), hippos ,bears ,hyenas ,and so on ,and remains of human settlements since the upper Palaeolithic era. In the Puntali or Armetta’s grottos some graffiti and hundreds of linear etchings remind us of the presence of man in the prehistoric age, while those in Carburangeli ,apart from being archeologically important , present very interesting itineraries for speleology . The wide flat area ,where rivers and creeks flow ,has had different human settlements that follow the development of the culture of human beings since the Palaeolithic era to nowadays ; of great importance is the necropolis in the Ciachea area , with tombs dating back to the bronze era, and also the one in Serre area , dating back to a later period and used till the roman period. Round about 1400 B.C., Cocalo king of the Sicanians gave to the legendary architect Dedalo a piece of land close to the Tirrenian sea and in memory of his son Icaro he founded a town Hykkara , that will be destroyed in 414 B.C. by the Greeks army leaded by general Nicia , because of its opposition with the Elimian city Segesta ( Thucydides , book VI – cap. 62 : Peloponneso’s war.
Hyccara was totally destroyed and its inhabitants were killed or taken as slaves , among those was a young lady whose name was Laide that later will be a famous hetaera in Corinto , approached by the most important artists and philosophers of the period ( such as Diogene, Demostene, Aristippo from Cirene,…). After that Hykkara was destroyed , the few who survived scattered in the territory , this gives us the idea of the reason why we had so many different small settlements in the area , till when they later founded a second Hykkara in the area called Santo Nicola. The small town quickly develops thanks to agriculture ,to sheep farming and to trades ( close to it is the consular road Valeria) , and in II century AD the town is mentioned in the Itinerarium Antonini. As an evidence of the increased importance of the small town we have some letters written by Pope San Gregorio Magno and addressed to the Hikkara Bishop dating back to the V century, and besides by the well documented presence of bishops from Hykkara participating to some Vatican councils (Laterano in 649 and Nicea in 787). In the middle 1800 Prince De Spuches saved a big multi-colour roman-byzantine mosaic found in San Nicola area from being destroyed by the spade of a farmer ; its size 13×11 meters made De Spuches think of an element belonging to a basilica. Monumento ai CadutiFew years later (1899) at a distance of about 2 kilometres, in the village Villagrazia di Carini they discovered a number of narrow underground corridors each of them communicating with others, and immediately recognized by Prof. Salinas as being part of a Christian catacomb. The corridors were completely full of rubble, since when they have started to dig out and they have started to understand the importance of the complex dating back to the IV –V century AD, compatible with the importance acquired by the second Hikkara in the Byzantine period. Since 827 Sicily was slowly conquered by the Arabs and Hikkara follows the destiny of the rest of the island; recent archaeological excavations have confirmed the presence of this people in Hikkara in the area called San Nicola till the 1250. The persistency of the fights among the Arab leaders, made life easy to the small Normans army leaded by Ruggero from Hauteville; it’s in this period that the castle was built by Rodolfo Bonello, a Sicilian noble person that had followed The Grand Count Ruggero in the Sicilian conquest. Historycal sources find in Idrisi a valid support, in his work 1150 this is what he says :” Qarinis terra graziosa, bella e abbondante, produce gran copia di frutti d’ogni maniera ed ha un vasto mercato e la più parte de’ comodi che si trovano nelle grandi città, come sarebbero de’ mercati minori,de’ bagni e de’ grandi palagi. Si esporta da Qarinis gran copia di mandorle, fichi secchi, carrube: che se ne carica delle navi e delle barche per vari paesi. Copiose acque sorgano d’ogni canto nel territorio , la più parte dentro i giardini stessi del paese. Avvi una fortezza nuova , fabbricata sopra un colle che domina la terra .Il mare si apre a tramontana alla distanza di un miglio all’incirca. A dodici miglia da qarinis è Palermo la capitale”. Stampa del Saint Non2After the construction of the castle some houses started to be built forming the district that today we call Terravecchia, surrounded by a massive system of walls today not existing of which we only have the big gate made with a Moorish architecture pointed arch. In 1397 Carini is given to Ubertino La Grua by king Martino I. The La Grua later on La Grua Talamanca, will be the Prince of Carini till 1812, when feudalism will be abolished; they influenced with their decisions the urban and architectural development of the town. To this family is also related the sad history of Laura Lanza di Trabia, married to Vincenzo II La Grua Talamanca and baroness of Carini, killed in 1563 by her father because of honour reasons. This event gave birth to the legend “Amaru casu della barunissa di Carini”, present in the Sicilian popular traditions and spread by the story tellers and to which is inspired the famous Neapolitan song Fenesta ca’ lucive. Between 1500 and 1700 the La Grua Talamanca live in Carini in the castle , they enlarged the residence and built : SS Sacramento Oratory, The Mother Church, Carmelite Convent, Rosary Convent, Saint Vito’s church, Saint Domenico’s Convent, Capuchin Friars’ Convent, Saint Rocco’s Convent, The Church of the Dying Persons The Belvedere complex with the small Church of Saint Peter in Vinculis . To ornate churches and convents famous artists came to work in Carini , among the many we can remind Giuseppe Salerno and Gaspare Bazzano both of them known as the Cripple from Ganci, Giacomo Serpotta , Antonello and Giacomo Gagini , Joseph Testa , Pietro d’Asaro known as the Monocole from Racalbuto. During the Bourbons period , Carini is the place from where most of the Risorgimento revolutions started ; Palermo’s neighbourhood made the meetings among the revolutionary clandestines easier. In 1848 patriotic sparkles already are present in town , and the Carmelite convent becomes the place where the members of the revolution meet.