The area of Palermo and its environs are rich with history that has been virtually untouched. Little can be found in the English language about the history of Sicily and even less about the cities and towns where Sicilians lived and worked. This thesis looks at the town of Carini in the early seventeenth century (1590–1650) when the kings of Spain (Philip II, III, and IV) ruled Sicily. This study uses primarily Catholic parish records from La Chiesa Madre di Carini or the mother church of Carini to portray the life cycle of Carinese through birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial in a southern Italian town at the height of Spanish rule. Moreover, the records that were consulted came into existence as a result of the religious fervor and revitalization of the Council of Trent. If it had not been for the Council of Trent and its mandates to keep records, this study might not have been possible. However, the Council of Trent made its way lackadaisically toward Palermo and its environs; therefore, this study relays how society effectively coexisted and conflicted with the reforms of Trent as a result of the politics of Spain, the structure of the church (chiese ricettizie), and the social and cultural landscape in seventeenth century Carini. The lives of villagers show us these patterns most clearly. In the birth and baptism chapter, Soro Rosalia Galluzzo, a widow, midwife, and nun shows the limitations for women and religion in this town. Marriage patterns also reveal more about how economics, politics, and religion merged to change the landscape in early seventeenth century Carini. Finally, the life, death, and burial of Don Gaspano Russo is an apropos example of the continuity of cultural practices in Carini despite the reforms of Trent.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History



Date Submitted


Document Type





Trent, Council of Trent, Carini, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Catholic Church, Seventeenth Century Italy, Spain



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History Commons