Title: Patrician of Messina
Date created: 
20th December 1553
Grant by:  
the Jurats of the city or municipality of Messina
Granted to
Nobile Mariano Testaferrata
personal privilegium
Date regranted
28th August 1792
Senate of Messina
Regranted to
: (1) Marchesi Don Mario Testaferrata Castelletti, the brothers (2) Don Daniele and (3) Don Pandolfo Testaferrata De Noto, Knights of the Holy Roman Empire , and (4) Barone Pietro Paolo Testaferrata Abela, all descendants of Mariano Testaferrata, descendant of Alphio Capo di Ferro, sive Testaferrata
together with their children and descendants.
Present Representatives:
(1) Marquis Mark Cassar Desain
(Seniormost male-to-male descendant of Mario), 
(2) Marquis Joseph Philip (Pippo) Testaferrata Bonici ((Seniormost male-to-male descendant of Daniele), 
(3) Marquis Paul Testaferrata Olivier (Seniormost male-to-male descendant of Pandolfo), 
(4) Baron Salvatore (Salvino) Testaferrata Moroni Viani (Seniormost male-to-male descendant of Pietro Paolo)
Other notes: Testaferrata (Capo Di Ferro)

Note: The title of Patrician of
Messina was not recognized by the British Colonial Government of Malta , 1878
Other Title:

Paolo Testaferrata (died 24-3-1714 )

Shield: Argent a bull Gules: The line of Antonio also carries on a chief Azure three mullets of six points Or. The line of Giacomo does not display the chief but instead carries the "Capo del Impero" (on a chief Or a demi-eagle displayed Sable beaked and langued Gules crowned).

Other Titles: (a) Descent from Capo di Ferro, Patricians of Rome (ancient) (tradition, see 1792 regrant),

(b) Patricians (Roman Senate) (creation: 1590 in favour of Paolo Testaferrata and others),

(c) Hereditary Knights ( Holy Roman Empire ) (creation: 1637 in favour of Giacomo Testaferrata),

(d) Barons of Castel Cicciano ( Kingdom of Naples ) (creation: circa 1528-1533, Investiture of 1695 in favour of Fabrizio Testaferrata, Recognition of title by Britain 1878),

(e) Barons of Gomerino (Magistral Principality of Malta ) (creation: 1710 in favour of Paolo and Beatrice Testaferrata, invested in 1711: investiture of 1737 with reference to a primogenitura in favour of Ercole Martino Testaferrata: Recognition of title by Britain 1878, but 1737 investiture not acknowledged by Britain )

(f) Marquises di San Vincenzo Ferreri ( Kingdom of Spain and Naples ) (creation: 1716 in favour of Mario Testaferrata: Recognition of title by Britain 1878),

(g) Marquises Testaferrata ( Kingdom of Sicily and Duchy of Savoy ) (creation: 1717 in favour of Mario Testaferrata, Creation was not recognized by Britain . However in 1883 Britain recognized two subformations effective 1745 and 1749 in favour of Gio Paolo Testaferrata Olivier and Lorenzo Cassar Desain)

(h) Most Illustrious and Noble (Magistral Principality of Malta ) (creation: 1725 in favour of the Baronessa di Gomerino Beatrice Testaferrata, the Barone di Cicciano Fabrizio Testaferrata and the Marchese di San Vincenzo Ferreri Mario Testaferrata: Title modified by Britain to “Most Noble” 1886),

(i) Barons of Tabria (Magistral Principality of Malta ) (creation: 1728, Investiture of 1784 in favour of Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani: Recognition of title by Britain 1878).

The Testaferrata family are all descendants of the Nobile Milite Arphio Capo di Ferro who changed his surname to Testaferrata after settling in Malta during the late 15th century. Tradition holds that Arphio was descended from the Capo di Ferro family of Rome , as is described in the 1792 document.

Mariano Testaferrata had two sons Giacomo and Antonio.

The 1792 regrant identifies four main branches: (1) Testaferrata Castelletti, from whom descend the Testaferrata Viani (agnate line now extinct), Testaferrata ‘di Marnisi’ (agnate line now extinct) and Cassar Desain, (2) Testaferrata de Noto, from whom descend the Testaferrata Bonici, (3) another Testaferrata de Noto, from whom descend the Testaferrata Olivier and Testaferrata de Noto, (4) Testaferrata Abela from whom descend the Testaferrata Moroni Viani and Testaferrata Abela.

In addition there are many cognate branches.


Full text of the 1792 regrant may be found at (Warning: this is an external link, read all the disclaimers:) http://www.saidvassallo.com/SME/maltesenobility/patricansofmessinatestaferrata.htm  . This title was not recognized by the British Colonial Government in 1878.  

And a translation of the 1792 grant is found here:- http://www.saidvassallo.com/SME/maltesenobility/nobility/Testaferratapatricanships.htm

from the book by Count Charles Gauci


From the collection of Count Charles Said Vassallo



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