The Filangeri Project

Palazzo Mirto and Family Filangeri

Palazzo Mirto in Palermo housed the princes of Lanza Filangeri for four centuries. This old and noble family boasts two possible legendary origins, both with historical records dating back to the 11th century.

According to one historical record, a Norman knight named Agerius I arrived in Italy. A century later his descendants, called "Filii Augerii", moved to Sicily from Nocera.

The other legend credits a Norman knight named Tancredi, who was present at the coronation of Roger as King of Sicily.  Two centuries later, documentary evidence informs us of the several civil and religious offices held by the members of the Filangeri family, who for its authority and enviable economical power (they owned large estates) played an important role within the Sicilian peerage.

During the late 16th century, Don Pietro Filangeri married Francesca de Spuches, only daughter of Vincenzo de Spuches, and took over the Palazzo Mirto, a de Spuches estate.  Pietro Filangeri was granted full powers on his lands and named first prince of Mirto in 1643.

The male branch of the Filangeri family became extinct in 1833, but to continue the name, Ignazio Lanza, who was married to Vittoria Filangeri, was granted the power to use his wife's titles, keeping the Filangeri name alive.  The palace, built in the 13th century, was renovated to better suit the tastes of the new couple.

In 1982, the last heir of the family, the noblewoman Maria Concetta Lanza Filangeri, according to her brother Stefano's last will, donated the palace to the Ministry of Cultural Assets, to assure “better preservation and public enjoyment.”  As a result, Palazzo Mirto is one of the few aristocratic homes of Palermo open to the general public, and gives a unique glimpse into the lifestyle of Sicily's aristocratic families during the nineteenth century.

The opulent Baroque artwork, furniture and furnishings, remain as they were, from the trompe l’oeil ceiling and leather floor of the Chinese sitting room to the red marble staircase to the Pompadour sitting room with a mosaic floor and silk walls embroidered with flowers.

The Emigration



In the early 1900's five siblings, Antonio, Elviro, Eduardo, Mario, and Providenza Filangeri, emigrated from Palermo, Sicily to New York's Lower Eastside. Some time later, they moved to the Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn. We believe that they are the American forebears of the existing Filangeris in the U.S.

We would like to trace the Filangeris back to their origins in Sicily and forward to the present day. We would also like to discover other Filangeris who may have emigrated about the same time. This website will provide a venue to trace the Filangeri Family.

For more information
See the Family Tree Posts