Provincia di Messina
(from official comune website) It is thought that the town was called Francavilla (from the French franc-ville: free town) because for a long time exempt from paying taxes as belonging to the monarchy.
Francavilla has ancient origins. The testimonies are given to us by the discovery in 1979 of some archaeological finds at Contrada of "Pianu Maccu" and "Fanterilli" that are kept in the museum of Syracuse. These findings, dating back to the fifth century. BC, showing the presence of Calcidesi of Naxos in the Alcantara Valley. In Norman times, around 1000, the territory was given to the Basilian monastery of San Salvatore of Placa. Subsequently in 1130 by Roger Francavilla was assigned to the son William as a gift for his victories against Honorius IL Following the territory passed along to the village of Castiglione, Ruggero di Lauria.
In 1538 the town was traded by Charles V and with Taormina given in fief to the viscount Antonio Balsamo, noble Messina, who left it to his nephew Jacopo Ruffo, in which he saw a fine pomp. They were built several churches and streets adorned with statues and fountains. In 1678 he received from Charles Francavilla 11, King of Sicily, the title of city. During the War of the Quadruple Alliance, the town was the victim of a hard and bloody clash between Austria and Spain. A memorable date is June 20, 1719, which killed thousands of people. Until 1800 Francavilla was the scene of clashes and protests; serenity found only after the unification of Italy.