Montalbano Elicona, tortuous and white town The name Montalbano, according to some scholars, is derived from the Latin “mons albus”, referring to the mountains whitened with snow, according to others from the Arabic al-bana, with the meaning of “excellent place”. More recent studies make it derive its name from Sesto Nonio Albano, Roman landowner, citizen of the nearby Tindari, which would be the eponymous hero of the city. The name of the river Elicona is of clear Greek etymology (Elikon = tortuous) and probably appears in the fourth century. B.C. Among the possessions of the Swabians, Montalbano full of all goods The first mention of the village dates back to the ninth century. A.D. when, conquered by the Byzantines, it gains the look of a fortress, but in 843 Messina fell under Arab rule and with it, probably, Montalbano. Towards the middle of the twelfth century we have the first official news of Montalbano in the famous Book of King Ruggero of the Arab geographer al-Idrisi, defining the place as “a rock very rough to climb and go down but full of all goods “; with the Normans the rock of Montalbano is enriched with towers and becomes state property, under the direct control of the crown, and remained so even under the Swabians. The forgiveness of Frederick II In 1211 Emperor Frederick II granted the castle as a dowry to his first wife Constance of Aragon; but for rebelling against the emperor, as the other Lombard colonies of Sicily, in 1233 the village was destroyed and the inhabitants were deported partly to Augusta and partly to Palermo and Agrigento; however, Frederick II, aware of the strategic importance of Montalbano, rebuilt the castle embedding it in a general plan for the consolidation of the Sicilian fortresses; with King Manfred in 1262, Montalbano is elevated to the rank of county and entrusted to Boniface Anglona, ​​uncle of the king himself. The Aragonese and the palace The Angevins in 1270 continue the work of strengthening the castle, but the golden age of Montalbano coincides with the arrival of Frederick II of Aragon, who established his residence there (1302-1308) strengthening the castle and surrounding the village with new walls. In 1396, Montalbano is granted to Thomas Romano Baron of Cesarò, County of Montalbano; from a royal palace, the castle downgrades to a small feudal palace: administrative centre of the assets of the Lord and reference point of civic life (political and judicial) of a small mountain town. The lordship of the Romanos lasted two centuries until it passed, at the end of ’500, onto Filippo Bonanni, who the last heiress of the Romanos brought it as dowry. The rule of the Bonannis also lasted two centuries, who completely overlooked the whole uncomfortable mountain feud.