Santo Stefano di Camastra (Santu Stèfanu ri Camastra in Sicilian) is an Italian town of about 5000 inhabitants in the metropolitan city of Messina in Sicily.
It is a village of the Nebrodi Park distant 100 km from Palermo and 130 km from Messina, near the border with the city of Palermo.
S. Stefano takes its name from the church of the Benedictine monastery of Santa Croce di Santo Stefano in Val Demone (shrine built in the Norman period). Until 1682, the date of a disastrous landslide, at Santo Stefano’s name is added to that of “Mistretta”. The “Camastra” moniker was taken to honor the memory of Giuseppe Lanza, Duke of Camastra, author of the reconstruction of the new center.
The first core of the Village is formed as an aggregation of a group of vassals and peasants who depend on Monastery of Santo Stefano. In 1639 was given the title of Prince of S. Stefano Mistretta to Antonio Napoli, affecting thereby the right of sovereignty of ‘abbey of St. Anastasia. The title is added in particular the administration of the goods of the priory of St. Anastasia, which provides the possibility to levy the taxes and the acquisition of the exercise of rights baulia, catapania and customs.
From the eleventh century, when it was alleged building in XVII the Village keeps the name of Santo Stefano di Mistretta, indicating a close link to the most important center of Mistretta. The name lasted until the landslide of 1682, due to the large land landslides caused by torrential rains. Ruined old town, the new town center is in 1683 at the behest of the Duke of Camastra, under whose dominion is found to be. Prince Giuseppe Lanza, Duke of Camastra, and the woman Princess Maria Gomez de Silvera ask the king the licentia aedificandi, which is granted on March 30, 1683, resulting in a new town with a characteristic geometric urban layout.
The urban design was given by the military engineer Carlos de Grunenbergh, collaborator of the Duke of Camastra and designer of numerous fortifications in Sicily. De Grunenbergh used a pattern that looks like a diamond in a square circumscribed. Don Giuseppe Lanza of this moment can also boast the title of Prince of the Land and the State of S. Stefano Mistretta. The Centre officially changes its name to S. Stefano di Camastra starting from 1812, when the Constitution was promulgated in Sicily and which marks the beginning of the history of the town.
It is known for the production of artistic ceramics and crockery, but also produces olives, vegetables and cork. It is also practiced herding sheep, cattle, goats, horses, pigs. Being a seaside town is well practiced fishing. In addition there is an industrial area with various industries besides those of ceramics.
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