The Italian surname Napolitano is a habitation name from the Campanian city of Naples. The name was derived from the Latin Neapolis meaning 'new-city'. It was an ancient Greek colony taken over by the Romans in the 4th century B.C. It was one of the most beautiful and fertile of the Italian provinces. Habitation names are derived from names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads or other named places, which include rivers, houses with signs on them, regions, or whole counties. The original bearer of the name who stayed in his area might be known by the name of his farm, or the locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could acquire the name of that county or the region from which he originated. Early references to the name occur in the 13th century, when one Enrico di Napoli was created governor of the city of Troina by King Federico II. of Aragon. His family became of some influence and his descendants acquired widespread territories which included the dukedom of Campobello, the barony of Pirraino, the barony of Francavilla and the barony of Longi to name a few. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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