Tag Archives: sicily

The Italian “Al” and the Arabs

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Ever wondered why many Italians have “Al” in their surnames?

That’s because of Arab influence. In medieval times, an Emirate was established in Sicily, southern Italy with Palermo as its capital. This took place between the 9th and 10th century. Monumental remnants can still be found in the region.

The word “Al” in Arabic means “The” like Allah, which literally means The God. “Ilah” in Arabic is “God” and “Al” is “The.”