mondello [Italian]

Two premetric Sicilian units. Plural, mondelli. Also spelled mondillo. From the Sicilian and Calabrian munneddu, from Arabic mudd, from Latin modius. The spelling with an “n” is typical of Sicily; a similar unit, also ¼ tomolo, occurs elsewhere in southern Italy, spelled modillo, plural modilli.


In Sicily, a unit of capacity used for grain, = ¼ tomolo, about 4.28 liters.

Another tomolo, the tomolo grosso, was used for vegetables, hazelnuts, flaxseed and so on, and was 1¼ the size of the common tomolo. Quarters of the tomolo grosso were sometimes called quarti and sometimes modilli; such modilli would be about 5.35 liters.

Kennelly, quoting an American consul, says that in Sicily the tomolo is about 58 liters, making the mondello 14.5 liters. This tomolo is nearer the much larger tomolo of Naples, which, according to Doursther, although also used in Sicily was divided unto 4 quarti, not 4 modilli.  It may be that between the early 19th century and the early 20th the Naples tomolo displaced the Sicilian one.


In Acre, 14ᵗʰ century, a unit of dry capacity = 1/24th of a moggio.

E il moggio del Signore [of Acre] e della ruga di Pisa e della ruga di Vinegia ... è mondelli 24, e quello della Fonda, cioè della piazza ove si vende, si è altresi mondelli 24.

And the moggio of the Signore [of Acre] and the main street of Pisa and the main street of Venice ... is 24 mondelli, and that of Fonda, that is to say of the piazza where it is sold, is also 24 mondelli.

Pegolotti, 1340, as quoted in Edler, page 187.


In Sicily, a unit of land area, 15ᵗʰ? – 20ᵗʰ century, = ¼ tomolo = 4 carozzi = 64 square canne. opens a new page containing a chart that shows relationships between this unit and other units in its system This unit is a seed measure of land, in concept the amount of land that would be sown with a mondello of seed. A carrozo, also in origin a seed measure, was a square catena, and the catena of Palermo was 8.259 meters, making the carrozo 68.2 square meters and the mondello 272.8528 square meters.

Zupko says that after 1809 the mondello was 348.6 square meters. Kennelly, quoting the same consul in 1927, says that in Sicily the tomolo is 4365.6 square meters, making the mondello about 1091.4 square meters. We have been unable to corroborate these values.

Doursther, 1840. Pages 284, 286 and 531.

Roland Edward Zupko.
Italian Weights and Measures from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century.
Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1981.

Page 170.

Arthur E. Kennelly.
Vestiges of Pre-Metric Weights and Measures Persisting in Metric-System Europe, 1926-1927.
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1928.

Page 126.


In Malta opens maps showing location of Malta, = 1/6 tomolo.

Where is Malta?


World map showing the location of Malta.

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