Palazzolo Family History

The Palazzolo family are a noble Sicilian family dating back to the Norman invasions in the 12th century, as evidenced by the attached certificate from the Araldica of Florence, quoted below:

This is a very old family line with Norman origins, which came to Sicily with a certain Riccardo, who was leading the troops of the Duke Roberto il Guiscardo, who conquered the island of Sicily. After chasing the Moors from Caltagirone to Militello, and therefore freeing the area of the Palici Lakes, the sons of Riccardo then took their surname from these lakes. From among the children, Roberto stands out, as the “strategos” (supreme military commander) of Messina in 1115.

This family line was certainly one of the most powerful in Sicily, with extensive landed estates and appointments. Among the various family members that added to the family’s eminence were firstly Filippo, Senator of Messina in 1230 and Nicolò, who was also Senator in 1286. Nicolò had a brother Lorenzo, who is significant because he moved to Monte San Giuliano (modern day Erice), and was therefore the progenitor of the branch of the family that took the surname Palizzolo and Palazzolo. We also note Vinciguerra, who was a Notary in 1282 and in 1303 held the landed estates in Cammarata; Francesco was Baron of Cerami; Matteo, Count of Novara in 1337 and Lord of Ciminni and other estates, as well as Viceroy of Sicily in 1352.

There are a number of other pre-eminent personalities belonging to this family line, which would be far too long to list here; among them we note Francesco, the Count of Capizzi and Ruggero, and Baron of Tortorici in 1416.

Going back to the Lorenzo mentioned above, who had moved to Monte San Giuliano, starting the Palizzolo or Palazzolo branch of the family, the first person that carried this name was the nobleman Giovan Pietro, who was named the Lord of Monte San Giuliano in 1456 by King Alfonso of Aragon in recognition of his support. This appears documented in certificates from the Senate Chancellery office and a certificate of Emperor Charles V signed in Brussels on 10 December 1553, enforcing a writ in Palermo on 20 March 1554 in the person of the nobleman Antonio Palizzolo, a military commander and celebrated cavalryman. Carlo was a juror in Monte San Giuliano during the period from 1643-44, and in more recent times Baron Giuseppe Caterino held the same office from 1798-99. Finally we note Vincenzo Palizzolo Gravina, born in 1831, the Baron of Ramione and author of a number of books on heraldry, including “Il Blasone in Sicilia” (The Coat of arms in Sicily).

During the first half of the 1600’s, we find the line of this old and noble family in Cinisi in the province of Palermo, with Pietro Palazzolo, who was born in about 1640 in Cinisi. Following another six generations we reach the great great-grandfather of Vito, Pietro Palazzolo, who was born in Palermo on 23 December 1867 from Pietro’s marriage to Princess Kolbatschenko of St Petersburg. Due to the eminent position of this family over the centuries of its history, and which it has maintained in more recent times, it has always carried the title of “Prince”, especially in view of the marriage referred to above. A cousin of Pietro and the great great-grandfather of Vito was the Honourable Giovanni Palazzolo, a leading figure that added prestige to the family, and was active in Italian politics. In fact, the Honourable Giovanni, who was born in 1896, fought in the First World War as an Artillery Officer and earned a silver medal. He was Secretary of State in 1919 under the government of Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. In 1948, and again in 1958 and 1963, he was elected member of the National Parliament. He was appointed a life member of the Senate for his political contributions; an appointment he held within the Italian Liberal Party, to the extent that the Terrasini section of the party is referred to by his name.

We would finally like to highlight how all the members of this family have always distinguished themselves for their noble spirit and refinement, as one would expect from a family with such noble and ancient origins; and they have always shown honesty and humanity in managing their various properties in Sicily.

COAT OF ARMS: Blue, with three shortened and pointed stakes, with a six pointed star placed above the first and third stake. All in silver. Prince’s crown.

In English: From Coccia Heraldic Institute

In Italian: From Coccia Heraldic Institute original in Italian