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Scopri i personaggi illustri di Piana degli Albanesi: Nicola Barbato

In our column dedicated to the illustrious characters of Piana degli Albanesi, the eminent figure of the doctor Nicola Barbato could not fail to be presented. Professor Matteo Mandalà traces the daring life of the doctor who was the beating soul of the Sicilian Fasci and to whom the Civic Museum of Piana degli Albanesi is named.

Enjoy the reading

Salvatore Vasotti


A pupil of the Greek-Albanian Seminary of Palermo, he subsequently trained in the cultural and political circles, radicals and socialists, of the Palermo of the time and was one of the top leaders of the political-trade union movement of the Fasci dei Lavoratori (1892-94).

Graduated in medicine at the University of Palermo, he devoted himself, in the positivistic climate then prevailing, to the study of psychiatry under the guidance of Pisani. His Notes on the Psychology of Paranoia, published in the journal of the Palermo asylum in 1890, were positively judged by Cesare Lombroso and Enrico Morselli. Soon he approached politics, collaborating with the avant-garde newspaper L'isola, directed to Palermo by

Napoleon Colajanni. Returning to Piana, as a physician led, together with the scientist and positivist component, he matured, in the daily contact with misery combined with the intense work of social agitator, a marked apostolic component that always remained alive and active throughout his life.

Arrested together with the other leaders of the Fasci, he was tried by the military court

of Palermo on charges of conspiracy against the powers of the state and of excitement

to civil war, and sentenced to twelve years in prison and two years of special surveillance. His famous Self-defense before the judges has now entered the socialist historiography. In the subsequent elections of May 1895, while he was still in prison, he was a protest candidate of the Socialist Party in numerous national colleges.

Elected to the V college of Milan and to the college of Cesena, his election was canceled

by the Council of the Chamber. In repeated elections. in September of the same year, it was

elected once again in the two colleges. Not having opted, he was assigned by lot to the college of Cesena, in the fifth college of Milan which remained free, he was succeeded by Filippo

Turati, first elected to the House. Amnestied in 1896, he returned to devote himself with

commitment to the reorganization of the party in Sicily, which he temporarily abandoned in 1897 to go voluntarily to Candia during the Greek-Turkish war.

Returning to his homeland in 1898, he was once again condemned for subversive activity. In September 1900 he was elected by the congress of Rome as a member of the national leadership of the socialist party. Starting from 1903 a difficult period of his life began. Sharp conflicts with the central organs of the socialist party and the loss of the large clientele

profession led him to emigrate, in 1904, to the United States. Established before a

New York and then to Philadelphia, he remained consistent with his beliefs and, entered into

contact with the Italian anarchist and socialist emigrants, he became one of the exponents of

anti-religious movement. In October 1907 he published in America the essay Scienza e

Faith, Returning to his homeland, Barbato returned to the political struggle by participating in the events of

congress of Reggio Emilia of July 1912,. In 1913 the Italian Socialist Party for

to mark the detachment of De Felice Giuffrida from revolutionary socialism, led to the

Barbato as his own candidate in the Catania college. He was beaten but the voters condemned the political attitude of De Felice Giuffrida with mass abstention.

The last years of Barbato's life do not offer significant events, except for

of his last return to the Chamber, in the 1919 elections, as a deputy of the Bari college, On the occasion of the Livorno congress, in January 1921, in which he did not participate personally, he supported the line of the old Costantino Lazzari, to whom he addressed a letter to criticize the splinter faction. He died in Milan on May 23, 1923.

The funeral oration was made by Pietro Nenni. He left numerous writings of character

political and a large number of articles published mainly in the press

socialist of the time and now collected in the volumes Nicola Barbato, Writings, Municipality of Piana

degli Albanesi, Sciascia publisher, Rome-Caltanissetta, 1996 and Nicola Barbato, The possible socialism, ed. La Zisa, Palermo, 2000. thanks Professor Matteo Mandalà for having granted this text.



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