Sights & Activities
Localities • Places
Good Travel Faqs
Sicily's Top 12
Hotels • Planning
Maps of Sicily
Weather • Climate
Nature • History • People
Food • Wine • Dining
Arts • Literature • Culture
Contact • Follow
Sicilian Genealogy & Heraldry. The only book ever published about Sicilian family history research is now available from Amazon and other vendors. Historiography, folk customs, religious practices, research strategies, records to consult. A definitive guide to Sicilian genealogy and a Sicilian identity. (300 pages on acid-free paper, ebook available soon) Read more.
Sicilian & Neapolitan Nobiliary Legislation
Here we list a few laws often cited in support of the historical positions of noble families in southern Italy during the Bourbon period. Unless you happen to be researching one of these families, or are related to one, this is arcane information except for comparing the aristocracies of various European states during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Decree (dispatch) 16 October 1743
Declaration of nobiliary stratus for prominent citizens of several cities, particularly Pozzuoli and Bitonto, based on families having lived in a noble manner for at least three generations.
Pragmatic 25 January 1756
Identification of several classes of nobility based on long-established norms not satisfactorily codified during the preceding two centuries. Specifically identified are the feudal nobility, nobility by office (judges, generals, et al.), and the the civic nobility (patriciate) of royal cities. These distinctions served the differentiation of the status of military cadets.
Decree 24 December 1774
Identification of various professions which might engender nobility.
Decree 27 November 1780
Confirms status of nobility to families residing in cities or towns which are now feudal (under a baron or other lord) but in the past were regarded as noble.
Decree 7 May 1795
Guarantees to certain high officials and their children the same privileges as nobles by birth.
Decree 20 December 1800
Prohibits nobles contracting marriages which are unworthy or indecent.
Rescript 4 March 1828
Confirms the longstanding practice of the husband of a lady titled in her own right to make use of his wife's title during the marriage and as a widower.
Ministerial Decree 7 December 1839
Confirms the effect of previous decrees abolishing feudalism regarding the personal, hereditary nature of nobiliary titles apart from land tenure.
Rescript 2 December 1843
Addressing a circular issued (in error) by the Royal Commission for Titles of Nobility on 28 September in a specific case (a marquisate created in 1829) clarifies that titles devolve through male descendants in the direct, agnatic line, not through female collaterals.
Rescript 29 July 1853
Clarifies that, in cases of female succession in the absence of male heirs, devolution is always based on seniority of age, and that the titles devolve to the legitimate heiresses who would have succeeded under the feudal system.
Rescript 10 September 1855
Establishes clearly that adoptive children may not succeed to the ranks of nobility of their adoptive parents.
Rescript 11 October 1855
Establishes that in-laws and other kin through marriage may not succeed to titles of nobility as if they were heirs by blood..
Rescript 15 October 1857
Establishes that serving as Justice of the Great Court (a supreme court) does not ennoble.
Rescript 19 December 1857
Establishes that only the officers of the Royal Secretariat of State and their descendants were to be ennobled ipso facto.
Top of Page