Pollina (Puaddrina in Sicilian) is an Italian municipality of 2,997 inhabitants in the province of Palermo in Sicily. It is part of the Madonie Park.
The municipality of Pollina also includes the hamlet of Finale di Pollina. The majority of the population residing in the municipality of Pollina is located in the aforementioned hamlet.
According to some historians, Pollina seems to be the modern heir of Apollonia, a city of Magna Graecia. The city was apparently protected by the gods and consecrated to the god of light, divination and poetry, respectively. Various ancient writers, such as Primo Cicerone, Diodoro Siculo and Stefano Bizantino, speak of a certain Apollonia located between Motta and Gangi. However, there are no findings to support this hypothesis. More concrete information dates back to a period much more recent than the Greek period, namely 1082, the year in which the hamlet of Polla was listed among the possessions of the diocese of Troina. Subsequently part of the diocese of Cefalù, it was donated by the latter to the Ventimiglia family, a noble family of Messina origin, manager of the entire Madonie territory, from 1321.
In the locality called ‘Pietrarosa’, one can admire the square tower and the remains of the Medieval Castle, the construction of which certainly predates the 13th century. It is mentioned in a diploma of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia from the year 1201. It belonged to the bishops of Cefalù until 1321, the year in which it was ceded, along with the entire hamlet of Pollina, to Francesco Ventimiglia. From the tower, itself an astronomical observatory dating back to the mid-16th century, Francesco Maurolico made his astronomical observations during the period in which he stayed there, until the death of his amphirion, i.e. Giovanni II Ventimiglia, who died in October 1553, and then, more and more rarely, until the death in September 1560 of Giovanni’s son, i.e. Simone Ventimiglia.
The tower has been considerably damaged by time, weathering and the earthquake of 26 June 1993. Many loopholes and an arch, which was the ancient entrance to the castle, can still be seen in the remains of the ancient walls.
From 1321 to the end of feudalism (1812), Finale, and the entire territory of Pollina, was basically part of the Ventimiglia family’s possessions and its development was essentially linked to that of the ‘Marchisato’. In the early 16th century, the Ventimiglia family’s control over the sea outlets of Termini Imerese, Cefalù and Castel di Tusa overshadowed the importance of the Finale outlet. Later, having overcome the period of crisis following the maximum expansion that had lasted until the mid-1800s, the Finale sea outlet, for the ‘Val Demone’, acquired vital importance for the economic and commercial life of the entire territory controlled by the Ventimiglia family. As V. Amico testifies, at the time, Finale was beginning to develop as a settlement where there was already a ‘very decent dwelling of the marquis of Geraci… with an adjoining inspection tower’. Finale thus developed as the maritime commercial outlet of the Marquisate, with the warehouse area behind the watchtower (today’s Finale ‘Tower’), the occasional residence of the Marquis to the west of the town and the dwellings between these ‘poles’, ‘with straight streets…’.
At the beginning of the 19th century, after the abolition of feudalism, with the administrative organisation given by the Bourbons of Sicily, there was the abolition of the three valleys and the establishment of 7 provinces, 23 districts and 150 districts. Finale, part of the Pollina territory, was annexed to the province of Palermo, the district of Cefalù and the district of Castelbuono.
The tourist development of the area began in the 1970s when an open-air theatre was built on the lines of the Greek theatre on a dolomite rock, half pink and half white, hence the name ‘Pietrarosa’, designed by the architect Foscari. In the last decade, following the earthquake of 26 June 1993, Pollina has seen a rapid decrease in its resident population, which consequently moved, for the most part, to Finale, causing the decentralisation of activities to the hamlet.
Currently, the urban settlement of Finale is mainly structured along the ss. 113 (via Libertà) and is practically separated from the coastal strip by the Palermo-Messina railway line.
Link to the institutional webpage: www.comune.pollina.pa.it