This work seeks to describe and define the vernacular of Castroreale and its immediate environs, a parrata which is closer than any other Sicilian vernacular to Florentine, the speech on which the official language of Italy is based : By investigating the historical reasons that contributed to the uniqueness of this Latin-based language, this study offers a brief yet comprehensive overview of the island's and of this particular area's history, characterized by the arrival of a wide variety of peoples of different speech, and provides a historical grammar of Castroreale's parrata, detailing the laws - encompassing phonology, morphology and lexicon - that governed its evolution from Latin. A separate section provides the rudiments of grammar of the speech in use today in the area of Castroreale Appendices include songs gathered around 1880 in viliages with in the territory texts of two local poets and the first printed edition of the text of the Nativity pageant of Castroreale, the Pasturatu Castricianu, with a brief essay on its origins.
Ennio I Rao was born in Castroreale (Messina) in 1943. He came with his family to the United States in 1956. He holds degerees in classics from Fordham University and a Ph.D. in Italian from Columbia University. He is Professor of Italian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He specializes in the Italian Renaissance and Dialectology. He has published mainly on the literature of the 15th-century Humanists, particularly their invectives, but also on the Italian theater and on Sicilian authors Federico De Roberto and Carmelo Aliberti. He is working on a literary history and anthology of the Renaissance in Sicily and on Epicureanism in 15th-century Italian Humanism.