This modern, Albanian phase of the Byzantine tradition in southern Italy began when the Ottoman Turks moved through the Balkans in the 14th and 15th centuries and wiped out the Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Serbian states. The Albanian resistance collapsed after the death of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg, the chief of the Albanian unsurgency. Rather than serve the Ottoman sultan, thousands of Albanian refugees poured into such diverse Italian regions as Abruzzi and Molise, Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia and Sicily. Those Albanians from the northern portion of the country - primarily Latin Catholics - were quickly absorbed into Italian culture. Southern Albanians were Byzantine Christians who maintained ties to the Church of Constantinople, which was reduced to a subordinate condition following the collapse of Constantinople in 1453.(http://www.byzantines.net/)
About 10,000 Byzantine Italians emigrated to the
I wondered how Italian the Italian/Greek/Albanian Byzantines were, so I asked John DeMeis, Historian of the Our Lady of Grace Society. His answer was, "They are as much Italian as you and I are American."
If your name is Greco, LiGreci, Albanese,