The Italian surname of VIGNA was a locational name meaning 'one who lived or worked in a vineyard'. The name was originally rendered in the old form WIN (wine) + GEARD (yard, enclosure). Other spellings of the name include VIGNEAUD, VINE, VINES, VINER, VYNER, VIGNES, LAVIGNE, VINA, VIGOLLE and VIGNONE, to name but a few. During the Middle Ages the manufacture and fermenting of wines and ale was necessary in every small village. Ale was the people's food in liquid form, and was consumed by everybody at all times. In early times each villager usually brewed his own drink although he often had to pay the lord of the manor for the privilege of using his equipment. In later times the manufacture of ales and wine became an important monastic industry. Despite evidence that hereditary surnames were in use in the Venetian Republic as early as the 10th Century, the origin of many Italian surnames is unclear. There is still a great potential for research into medieval Italian records while documented evidence indicates the adoption of the father's name as a surname is the most common form. The familiar endings of "i" and "o", meaning to be a member of a certain family, bears this out. A notable member of the name was Giacomo Barozzi da VIGNOLA (1507-73) the Italian architect, born in VIGNOLA. He studied in Bologna and became the leading mannerist architect of his day in Rome. He designed the Villa dei Papa Giulio for Pope Julius III and the church of the Il Gesu in Rome, which with its cruciform plan and side chapels had a great influence on French and Italian church architecture. His other works included the Palazzo Farnese in Piacenza. The Church played a very important role in Central Italian heraldry and many Italian families who derived their titles from popes incorporated elements of the papal insignia, notably the papal tiara and the crossed keys, on their Coats of Arms. As in the rest of Europe, the turbulent history of Italy in the Middle Ages is reflected in its heraldry. Traces remain from the successive invasions of the Germans, French, Spanish and Austrians. Certain characteristics, such as the use of horse-shaped shields which were put on the foreheads of horses during tournaments, remain uniquely Italian.
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