This surname VERDI is of Italian origin, originally derived from the Latin 'viridis' which was akin to 'virere' meaning to bloom and flourish. The name was also an occupational name for a forester, and the officials were thus nicknamed for having to wear green an early form of camouflage. The name has many variant spellings which include VERDI, VERT, VIRDE, VIRDI and Lo VERDE (which is the southern Italy form of the name). 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. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. An eminent member of the name was Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (1813-1901) the Italian composer, born in Roncole. Of humble origin, his father kept an inn and grocer's store; much of his early musical education came from Provesi, organist of Busseto Cathedral. Subsidized by locals who admired his talent, he was sent to Milan, but was rejected by the conservatory as over age. He was eventually given a grant by the Philharmonic Society. It was with his opera 'Nabucco' (1842) that he achieved his first major success. Although his reputation was worldwide, he stayed at heart, a countryman, preferring above all to cultivate his property at Busseto in the intervals of composition. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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