Place Names from a 16th-Century Italian Armorial

The Bavarian State Library owns a multi-volume armorial made somewhere in what is now Italy in the middle of the 16th century. It's shelfmarked as Codices inconographici 266 through 280, and the library has very generously scanned the pages and uploaded the images to its website. The armorial is divided into sections headed with the names of 25 cities, and the section on Milan includes several pages of civic arms labeled with the names of more places. This index points to place names from both contexts.

The tables below also include names for most of these places taken from one or more of three 16th-century maps:

Some of the place names in the armorial are Latinized, to one degree or another. I hope the names from Castaldo's and Septala's maps (which are, so far as I can tell, not) will help you identify those. The names from Braun's book are in Latin, but I thought they might be of interest, anyway.

I've also given the modern English names of those places I could identify and the regions in which they are found, to make persona research easier for anyone picking a "home" from this list.

Please note: Quite a number of surnames derived from place names are among those found in the armorial. Some (like "DEL MILANESE" and "DA CASCINA") incorporate prepositions and/or adjectival endings and some (like "PARMA" and "NOVATE") have lost such designations and are indistinguishable from the place names themselves. In either case, they are included in my index to surnames, but not here. Only those place names presented as place names appear in this article.

A quick comment on the utility of this index:

Sometimes, especially if you're not an expert in a relevant field, a secondary source is more helpful in research than a primary source. This is not one of those times. This index contains little in the way of additional facts and its source material is readily accessible. I strongly recommend that you consult the original material before drawing any conclusions, and that if you choose to use one of the names in a submission to the S.C.A. College of Arms you use the manuscript scans, not this index, as your supporting documentation. After all, I might have gotten something wrong.

A few tips you might find helpful:

Initially, "V" and "U" were variant forms of the same letter. By the 16th century, some writers had begun to use the "V" form only where a consonant was wanted and the "U" form only where it a vowel was, but that pattern is not evident in this armorial. The "V" form is always used. The maps I've cited also use "V" in the upper case, but always use "u" in the lower.

At first, "I" and "J" were variant forms of the same letter. By the 16th century, some writers had begun to use the "I" form only where a vowel was wanted and the "J" form only where a consonant was, but the scribes of this armorial were not among them. The "I" form is always used.

Almost every "s" in the middle of a word on either of the maps I've cited is a long "s". (This is a variant form of the letter, often confused by modern readers with an Italicized "f".) I've used a short "s" (the sort typically used today) in my transcriptions.

The overline is a siglum used in many medieval and Renaissance texts to say, "You already know what letter comes after this one, so I'm going to save a little space by not bothering to write it down." In the documents I've cited here, the missing letter appears always to be an "N". In my transcriptions, I've used macrons (over uppercase vowels) and tildes (over lowercase letters) to represent overlines.

In the armorial a symbol like a double comma is used to indicate a word continued on the next line (much as we might use a hyphen). In the maps, a mark similar to a colon is used for the same purpose. I have re-joined words that use either symbol without marking them in the index.

Names in the Armorial's Section Headers

name in armorial manuscript, folio name on Castaldo's map  modern English name modern region
ANCONA BSB Cod.icon 274, folio 214r Ancona Ancona Marche
AREZZO BSB Cod.icon 278, folio 161r Arezo Arezzo Tuscany
BONONIA BSB Cod.icon 274, folio 149r Bologna Bologna Emilia-Romagna
BORGHO ASANSIPOLCRO BSB Cod.icon 278, folio 190r Borgo S. Sepolchro Sansepolcro Tuscany
CORTONA BSB Cod.icon 278, folio 180r Cortona Cortona Tuscany
FERRARIA BSB Cod.icon 275, folio 34r Ferrara Ferrara Emilia-Romagna
FLORENTIA BSB Cod.icon 277, folio 1r Fiorenza Florence Tuscany
GENVA  BSB Cod.icon 279, folio 78r Genua Genoa Liguria
LVCA  BSB Cod.icon 278, folios 1r, 2r Luca Lucca Tuscany
MANTVA  BSB Cod.icon 274, folio 96r Mãtua Mantua Lombardy
MEDIOLANVM  BSB Cod.icon 270, folio 2r Milano Milan Lombardy
NAPOLI  BSB Cod.icon 279, folio 1r Napoli Naples Campania
PADVA  BSB Cod.icon 275, folio 2r Padua Padua Veneto
PERVGIA  BSB Cod.icon 274, folio 255r Perugia Perugia Umbria
PESARO  BSB Cod.icon 275, folio 61r Pesaro Pesaro Marche
PISA  BSB Cod.icon 278, folio 69r Pisa Pisa Tuscany
PISTOIA  BSB Cod.icon 278, folio 99r Pistogia Pistoia Tuscany
ROMA  BSB Cod.icon 268, folios 1r, 2r, 3r, 4r Roma Rome Lazio
SIENA  BSB Cod.icon 278, folio 27r Siena Siena Tuscany
VENETIA  BSB Cod.icon 271, folio 3r; 274, folio 1r; 275, folio 1r Venetia Venice Veneto
VERONA  BSB Cod.icon 276, folio 1r Verona Verona Veneto
VICENZA  BSB Cod.icon 276, folio 66r Vicenza Vicenza Veneto
VITERBO  BSB Cod.icon 268, folio 112ar Viterbo Viterbo Lazio
VOLTERRA  BSB Cod.icon 278, folio 126r Volterra Volterra Tuscany
VRBIN  BSB Cod.icon 274, folio 242ar Vrbino Urbino Marche


Additional Place Names in BSB Cod.icon 270

BSB Cod.icon 270 is the volume of the armorial that contains arms associated with Milan. It includes several pages of civic arms. The Bavarian State Library index to the manuscript describes folios 7r through 10r as showing the arms of various cities in northern Italy, folios 11r through 21r as showing those of municipalities in the Contado of Milan, and folios 22r through 23r as showing those of gates of the city of Milan.

Cities in What is Now Northern Italy

name in armorial folio name on Septala's map name on Castaldo's map  modern English name modern region
ARONA  10r Arona Arona Arona Piedmont
ASTIS 10r ASTE Aste Asti Piedmont
BOBIVM 8r Bobio   Bobbio Emilia-Romagna
BONONIA  10r   Bologna Bologna Emilia-Romagna
COMVM  7r COMO Como Como Lombardy
IANVA  7r Genua Genua Genoa Liguria
LAVDA  8r LODE Lodi  Lodi Lombardy
LECHO  9r LECCO Leco Lecco Lombardy
LISANDRIA 9r ALEXANDRIA Alexandria Alessandria Piedmont
NOVARIA  8r NOVARA Nouara Novara Piedmont
PAPIA 7r PAVIA Pauia Pavia Lombardy
PARMA  8r PARMA Parma Parma Emilia-Romagna
PATAVIVM  9r   Padua Padua Veneto
SAVONA 7r Sauona Sauona Savona Liguria
VERONA  10r   Verona Verona Veneto
VINTIMILIA 9r Vintimiglia Vintimiglia Ventimiglia Liguria


Municipalities in the Contado of Milan

A question mark after a name means I'm not sure it actually refers to the same place named in the armorial; it's just the closest thing I could find.

name in armorial folio name on Septala's map name on Castaldo's map  modern English name modern region
ANGERIA  19r Angiera Angiara Angera Lombardy
BASIGVANA 20r Basignana Baßignana Bassignana Piedmont
BASSIANIVA 18r     Bassano ? There are a few in and near Lombardy.
BERGAMO 14r BERGAMO Bergamo Bergamo Lombardy
BIRANZONA 11r     Bianzone Lombardy
BRIXIA 12r BRESSA Breßa Brescia Lombardy
CANOBIO  15r Canobio Canobio Cannobio Piedmont
CARAVAZIO 14r Carauazo   Caravaggio Lombardy
CASTELLO NOVO 19r C. Noua C. Nouo Castelnuovo There are several in and near Lombardy.
CASTILLONE 12r Castiglion   Castelleone Lombardy
CHREMONA  12r CREMONA Cremona Cremona Lombardy
CONATA 11r        
CVRVELLA 17r        
DONDOSOLA  16r     Domodossola Piedmont
FARONA 18r        
LOCHARNVM  13r Locarno Locarne Locarno Locarno District, Switzerland (just north of Lombardy)
MANDELLO 16r Mandelo   Mandello del Lario Lombardy
MAROSTIA  20r   Marostoga ? Marostica ? Veneto
MARTINĒGO 15r Martinengo Martinengo Martinengo Lombardy
MELEGNANO 14r   Marignan Melegnano Lombardy
MELZVM 21r Melzo   Melzo Lombardy
MODVĒZIA 21r   Modena Modena Emilia-Romagna
MOZZANIGA  11r Mosaniga   Mozzanica Lombardy
PLASENTIA  14r PIACENSA Piazensa Piacenza Emilia-Romagna
PONTICORONO 17r P. Curona   Pontecurone Piedmont
PONTREMOLO 17r Pontremulo Pontremoli Pontremoli Tuscany
PROLEZA 13r Proliza   Porlezza Lombardy
RIOLO 20r   Rimola ? Riolo Terme ? Emilia-Romagna (But there are other Riolos near Lombardy.)
RIPALTA 16r   Ripalto Ripalta Lombardy
ROMAGNANO 18r Romagnan Romagnan Romagnano There are a few in and near Lombardy.
ROBVSCHO  19r        
S. COLVBANVS (but with the first V overlined) 19r S.Colõban S.Colõbã San Colombano There are several in and near Lombardy.
S. DONINVS 17r Bor[go] S.Donino   San Donnino There are a few in and near Lombardy.
SONZINVM 15r Sonzi Soncin Soncino Lombardy
TERTONA  13r TERTONA Tortona Tortona Piedmont
TRIVILINVM 13r Triuiola   Treviglio Lombardy
VALENTIA  12r Valenza   Valenza Piedmont
VARECIVM 18r Varese   Varese Lombardy
VARENA 20r Varena   Varena Trentino-Alto Adige
VIGVINVM  15r Vigleuano Vigeuen Vigevano Lombardy
VOGERIA  11r Vogera Vogera Voghera Lombardy
VOLTOLINA 16r VAL TELINA   Valtellina Lombardy


Gates of the City of Milan

Braun's map shows the positions of all the gates listed in the armorial along with two others, Porta Tonsa and Porta Ludeuicha ("Porta Tonsa" and "Porta Ludovica" in modern English).

name in the armorial folio name on Braun's map modern English spelling
PORTA CVMANA 23r Porta Comana Porta Comasina
PORTA NOVA 22r Porta Noua Porta Nuova
PORTA ORIĒTALIS 22r Porta Orientale Porta Orientale
PORTA ROMANA 22r Porta Romana Porta Romana
PORTA TESIESA 23r Porta Tiernesa Porta Ticinese
PORTA VERCELINA 23r Porat Vercellina Porta Vercellina


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