Bronte's Inhabitants

Bronte's town, together, in the Web


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the inhabitants of the city of Bronte
in the course of the centuries

Year 1000

During the Arab domination, the  Arab Governor of Bronte's settlements sends to the emir of Catania a rapport with the results of a census, according to which such settlements count 1658 inhabitants, of which 994 Muslim and 664 Christians (more Arabs than brontese, but maybe the local people escaped from control not to pay fiscal impositions or the notorious gabelle (rural taxes).
A document of 1094 mentions for the first time the Greek name of  "Brontimene" as boundary between two very large estates.


In that year, according to an estimate, the population of Bronte district subjected to pay tax was of  300 people  (one hundred  fires, calculating four or five  persons per for each family or fire).

1442 - 1491

In 1442 were calculated 360 souls (90 fires); the feudatories, having increased the wheat price, encouraged the emigration towards Sicily.
Even the Bronte' territory received in that period a notable representation of Albanians that populated the farmhouses which had been emptied by wars, earthquakes and plagues.


The union of Farmhouses  (1535 – 1548) brings the  population of Bronte from 500 to about 3.000 inhabitants.


In this century were made in Bronte five official census:
 -- In the first census of 1548,  ordered by Carlo V and  carried out by the viceroy Lopez De Vega, Bronte had from 2.815 to 3.545 inhabitants with 709 habitation's houses or fires (four or five inhabitants for fire).
 -- With the second of 1570 the town counted 3.558 inhabitants (870 fires)
 -- with that of 1583, ordered by the viceroy Marcantonio Colonna, had 3.646 inhabitants of which 1.882 males and 1.764 females ( existed also 36 horses, 66 mares, 559 plough oxen and  203 cows ).
 -- With those of 1593 and 1595 counted respectively  2.603 and 2.815.
In a decade, the famine, the recurring epidemics and malarial fevers  and the exodus of many brontese people towards other places had  depopulated  the town.

XVI Century

In the census of 1639 Bronte has 9.138 inhabitants  (3.968 male and  5.170 female).
In that of 1653 were 7.151 (3.514 male, of which 1.488 from 18 to 50 years, and  3.637 female). 
In that period nearly 3.000 persons emigrated from Bronte because of a terrible and long eruption (1651-1654) that  devastated our town. 
After few decades (in 1693) a terrible earthquake  (that ruined the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria di Maniace and knocked down the apse of the church) shook and destroyed  many houses in Bronte.

XVII Century

In this century were made in Bronte three official census:
 -- in 1714, under the  kingdom of  Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, the town was composed by 6.936 inhabitants (3.411 male and 3.525 female); had also 116 horses, 331 mares, 508 bovines and 524 "plough cows";
 -- in 1748, under Carlo III, had about 8.000, with 1.924 habitation houses;
 -- in 1798, under Ferdinando III, counted 9.200 inhabitants, in spite of the famine of the 1764 and of the many deaths.
Few months later Bronte and its  citizens, that had, with great sacrifices, been released from the Palermo Hospital, were given in gift  by the Bourbon king Ferdinando to the admiral Horatio Nelson

XVIII Century

In this century the brontese population increased gradually up to equal the present number of inhabitants:
 -- in 1806 they were  9.387
in 1831 they were 8.871
in 1852, few years before the tragic facts of 1860, reached the number of nearly 11.000 inhabitants, with 7.949 houses.

In three successive censuses of the Kingdom population resulted:
 -- in 1861 12.920 inhabitants
 -- in 1871 14.589 inhabitants
 -- in 1881 16.616 inhabitants.
(Gesualdo De Luca writes that "resulted over 17.000, although citizens,  reputed well informed, affirm to be inferior to the true number of people; as was preferred not to mention the children number for old prejudices of possible increment of taxes and other  impositions"

(History of the City of Bronte, 1883).
Although there was a  mortal  cholera epidemic in 1887 (450 people died) the trend of growth continued also during the  successive years.
In 1898 the population of Bronte reached the number of 21.405 inhabitants.

XIX Century

Some official censuses carried out in this century give the following results that remained more or less constant for all of the century:

- 1901 20.166 inhabitants
- 1911 18.260 inhabitants
- 1921 20.284 inhabitants
- 1931 18.253 inhabitants
- 1936 17.918 inhabitants
- 1951 20.791 inhabitants 
- 1961 21.619 inhabitants

Benedetto Radice writes that in the census of 1911 the population was deliberately diminished "for local, personal, politic, ecclesiastic reasons, with the complicity of some elementary school teachers to whom the census was entrusted ".

January 2001

This is the population residing in Bronte at the 1st January 2001 for age and sex:


males females  total

from   0 to 10 anni

1.344 1.343 2.687

from  11 to 20 anni

1.340 1.314 2.654

from  21 to 30 anni

1.405 1.451 2.856

from  31 to 40 anni

1.454 1.558 3.012

from  41 to 60 anni

2.021 2.156 4.177

from  61 to 80 anni

1.615 2.006 3.621

from  81 years onwards

248 397 645


9.427 10.225 19.652

Some  curiosities:

Females are more in numbers than men: +798  ( 52,1%, nationally were  51,5%), the unmarried males however,  are more than the women: 4.355 against 4.186 females still singles.
That is due to an inverted trend related to age. Young boys, up to 20 years of age,  are actually more than the girls, even if for a small difference (+27)  and due to the greater number of widows (1.117) and divorced (44) respect to male widows (217) and divorced (23).
Population density  per square Km. is  74,0 (292,9% the medium density in the Catania's province ).
In our town live only three elders with more than 100 years of age (two females and one  man).
The age with greater number of residents is of 25 years (321).

September 2002

A noticeable decrease in respect of January 2001 (-926), in the month of September 2002 the resident population in Bronte was 18.726, so divided for sex and age (data from registry Office):


males females  total

from   0 to 10 anni

1.201 1.200 2.401

from  11 to 20 anni

1.309 1.248 2.557

from  21 to 30 anni

1.243 1.440 2.683

from  31 to 40 anni

1.345 1.308 2.653

from  41 to 60 anni

2.044 2.203 4.247

from  61 to 80 anni

1.575 1.935 3.510

from  81 years onwards

255 420 675


8.972 9.754 18.726

The number of families: 6.688 (of which 1.565 composed by one only component and 1.546 by two). The oldest person: a widow of 98 years of age; 27 the class of age with the greatest number of residents (291).

How to arrive to Bronte


At Misterbianco, take the highroad for Paternò (121) and continue to the exit for Bronte, after Adrano, on the same road that becomes SS.284.


Coming from Messina, after the Taormina junction, exit at Fiumefreddo and follow the signs to Linguaglossa-Randazzo on the road S.S. 120 (that from Fiumefreddo takes to Bivio Cerda). After leaving Randazzo, follow the signs to Maletto and Bronte (S.S. 284).
An interesting alternative would be to take, from Linguaglossa, the road that takes to the Citelli refuge (the Mareneve road) and, after about 3 Km., turn to the right an continue till the exit to the SS 284 (between Randazzo and  Bronte).
As well as avoiding to go through little inhabited centers and Randazzo, going this way you can go across the wooded area and the lava of the North- East side of the Etna Park.

Coming from the Catania' highway junction, continue on the tangential for the exit Misterbianco-Paternò and the towards Adrano-Bronte.

Take the tangential road towards Misterbiano-Paternò and continue on the highroad 121 to Paternò-Adrano till the exit to Bronte, on the road that becomes SS.284.



Going through the same route in which, at the beginning of '900, went Edmondo De Amicis, the Circumetnea railway allows  to arrive to Bronte in an unusual way, discovering  the slopes of mount Etna, its volcanic cones and lava stretches, its vegetation that changes continuously, and seeing, one after another, the many inhabited centers placed on both sides of the Volcano.

In its circumnavigation of mount Etna, the "Littorina" (that is how this train is called) leaving from Catania goes through the territory of Misterbianco, the citrus orchards of Paternò, Santa Maria di Licodia, Biancavilla, Adrano and Bronte.

Continuing from Bronte towards Giarre, the train reaches its highest quote of height in the splendid green valley of Difesa district (with the Rocca Calanna (Calanna Rock), the woods and the best view of Etna), to start to come down towards Maletto, the vineyards of Randazzo and Solicchiata, Linguaglossa, Piedimonte Etneo and Giarre.

With the bus services of the Circumetnea railway and other companies, all leaving from the terminal station "Porto" of Catania.

Translated by Sam Di BellaITALIAN VERSION


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