Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – F

Fara San Martino (CH): A commune in the province of Chieti. Population: 1,603 (2006e).

Faraglione (or Isole dei Ciolopi = “Cyclops’ Islands”): A good of small rocky islands off the eastern coast of Sicily near Aci Castello. According to ancient tradition, these were stones hurled by the blinded Cyclops Polyphemus at the escaping Greek hero Ulysses (Odysseus).

Fardella (PZ): A commune in the province of Potenza.

Farindola (PE): A commune in the province of Pescara.

Fasano (BR): A commune in the province of Brindisi. Population: 38,536 (2006e).

Fauna (Bona Dea): An ancient Italic fertility goddess who presided over fields and woods. Often called Bona Dea (the Good Goddess), farmers and herdsmen both prayed to her for the fertility of their fields and animals. She was either the sister or wife of Faunus.

Faunus: An ancient Italic nature god. The brother or husband of Fauna, he was the son of Picus and the grandson of Saturnus. He was often identified with the wolf-god Lupercus. Principally a protector deity of shepherds and countryfolk, he had special aspects with specific functions. In his aspect as Innus (“he who makes fruitful”), he increased herds. He was also involked as an oracle. The Romans eventually identified him with the Greek Pan, and he came to be depicted with goat-legs and horns. Faunus’s principal shrine was at Rome on an island in the river Tiber.

Fava beans: It is a Sicilian tradition in Sicily to carry a fava bean for good luck. The tradition was transferred to America where women of Sicilian ancestry sometimes carry a fava bean in their purses.

Favara (AG): A commune in the province of Agrigento. Population: 33,433 (2007e); 33,558 (2006e).

Favignana (anc. Aegusa) (TP): One of the principal islands of the Isole Egadi, off the west coast of Sicily. Its highest point rises to 1,070 feet.

Favignana (TP): A commune in the province of Trapani.

Februus: Etruscan god of the underworld and of purification. The month of February is named for him.

Federico, Gennaro Antonio: (d. 1743, Naples). Librettist.

Felitto (SA): A commune in the province of Salerno.

Felix I, St.: Pope. (rAD Jan 5, 269-Dec 30, 274).

Felix “II”: Antipope (r356-357).

Felix II (or III), St.: Pope. (r Mar 13, 483-Mar 1, 492).

Felix III (or IV), St.: Pope. (r July 13, 523-Sept 22, 530).

Felix: An early bishop of Naples. He flourished in the mid-5th Century AD. He succeeded either St. Nostrianus or Timasius and, after holding the see for about 9 years, was succeeded by St. Soter.

Ferdinand (Ferrante) I of Naples: (b. c1424/5; d. Jan. 25, 1494. King of Naples (r1458-1494)). The illegitimate son of King Alfonso I “the Magnanimous”, he inherited the throne of Naples upon the death of his father in 1458. His reign was threatened by the claims of John of Anjou to the throne of Naples. Supported by many the the kingdom’s barons, John launched an invasion, defeating Ferdinand at Sarno in 1460. Ferdinand was able to escape back to Naples, accompanied by only 20 companions. His reign might has come to an end had Ferdinand not still had the powerful support of Pope Pius II and Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan. Ferdinand’s army was also reinforced by the timely arrival of Albanian reinforcements under the command of Scanderbeg. The latter was given command of the royal army and attained a decisive victory over John of Anjou at Troia in 1462. The Angevin threat was ended and Ferdinand exacted a terrible revenge on those nobles who had rebelled against him. In 1480, Ferdinand’s security was again threatened when a force of Ottoman Turks landed in Apulia and captured the port-city of Otranto. Fortunately, the death of the Sultan Mehmed II in 1481, led to the Ottoman withdrawal from the city, once more saving Ferdinand’s reign. When a new Barons’ Revolt occurred in 1485, Ferdinand agreed to the rebels’ demands only long enough for them to lay down their arms. He then reneged on his promises and had the rebel leaders arrested and executed. Ferdinand was excommunicated and he died shortly before a new invasion was launched against his kingdom by Charles VIII, king of France.