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Piana degli Albanesi

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Piana degli Albanesi is a comune with 6.468 inhabitants in the Province of Palermo, Sicily.The town is the most important and populous Albanian settlement in Sicily and it is the episcopal see of the Italo-Albanian Byzantine Church that, after five centuries from its foundation, wholly preserves its ethnic-linguistic identity.Situated on a mountainous plateau and encircled by high mountains, the city, which is mirrored on a large lake, is 24km from the provincial capital.The community has maintained many ethnic elements of Albanian culture like language, religious ritual, traditional costumes, music and folklore. The inhabitants are the descendants of Albanian families, including nobles and relatives of Skanderbeg, that settled in Southern Italy during the Ottoman Turkish conquest of the Balkans. The municipal government uses bilingual documents and road signs in Albanian and Italian under existing Italian legislation on protecting ethnic and linguistic minorities.
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