Where is Vitigliano?

There are three locations in Italy that bear the name Vitigliano, two in Tuscany and one in Apulia:

  • The borgo of Vitigliano located on the old road between Panzano and Greve in Chianti. A "borgo" is a small inhabited nucleus, more or less a hamlet, often grouped around an ancient structure such as a castle or watch tower. The borgo of Vitigliano was probably a Roman foundation and in its present form developed around a watch tower that was an outlier of the castle of Panzano. The borgo of Vitigliano was once part of the holdings of the Verrazzano family and it has recently been tastefully restored as a luxury private hotel and spa under the name Vitigliano Relais and Spa. The old road on which Vitigliano is located was part of the principal road from Florence to the confines of Siennese territory. By the 18th century, this route had become known as the Via Chiantigiana. The new section of road that bypasses the old road adjacent to Vitigliano was created during the mid-19th century.


    Learn more about Vitigliano luxury accommodation and retreat in Tuscany.

  • Villa Vitigliano located above the borgo di Vitigliano in the direction of Panzano. Although a property at this location is mentioned in a document dated 1427, the current principal structure is a huge 18th century villa, surrounded by farm buildings which are mostly 19th century. The villa also belonged to a branch of the Verazzano family until as recently as 1936. It is currently unoccupied. The borgo and the villa of Vitigliano near Panzano were identified as separate entities from at least 1427 when we see the area of the villa designated Vitigliano di Sopra, while Vitigliano di sotto, the borgo and current Vitigliano Relais and Spa, is first documented as such in 1498.

  • Another Tuscan Vitigliano is located in the Mugello near Florence. The Historiae urbium et regionum Italiae rariores of 1748, describes the parish church of S. Alessandro a Vitigliano, and Repetti, in his comprehensive Dizionario Geografico Fisico della Toscana of 1833 - 1846 describes more fully Vitigliano del Mugello nella Valle della Sieve as a castle together with the church of S. Alessandro and the ruins of a tower named Montacuto, located in the comune of Vicchio, the birthplace of Giotto and Beato Angelico and which is around 4 km away. The original 12th century castle belonged to the Adimari family but was destroyed in the 13th century during the war between the Guelfs and Ghibellines. The remaining structures at this site belonged to the Church until 1350 when the property fell into the hands of Counts Guidi and were confirmed to them by Henry VI and Frederick II. The Guidi family seem to have ceded these properties to the Badia di Firenze in 1485. The 13th century church has been incorporated into a villa and there is another 19th century villa nearby, now known as Villa Vitigliano.

  • There is a village named Vitigliano, with interesting megalithic archaeological sites nearby, located in Apulia near Lecce, right on the "heel" of the Italian peninsula. The village of Vitigliano is administered by the municipality of Santa Cesaria Terme. 

What is the origin of the place name Vitigliano?

There are at least two possible the meanings or origins for the name "Vitigliano":

  • The most likely origin of the name Vitigliano, especially in Tuscany, the land of grapes and wine, is from the latin word vitiarum, meaning a vineyard, and indicating cultivation of grapes in the area.

  • Although Vitigliano and Vitagliano are possibly not related words, nevertheless, mediaeval spelling being what it was, we do see, in a document dated 14 November 1085, the Vitigliano property at Panzano referred to as Vitagliano. All later documents, dating from the 14th century onwards, use the spelling Vitigliano. As indicated below, the name Vitagliano is more likely to be derived from a Roman personal name such as Vitalis, Vitellius or Vetilius, and any of these could have been the name of the Roman owner of a property that took its name from that of that owner. The territory from Florence as far as Panzano is known to have been intensively cultivated during Roman times.

  • Local historians of the town of Vitigliano near Lecce favour derivation of the name of their town from a Roman personal name, namely of a Roman centurion called Vitelius (or Vitellius), who, upon retirement, was rewarded with this land for his courage on the battlefield. He built his own house and that of his soldiers, and from these beginnings grew the village of Vitigliano.

  • A folk story popular in the area of the town of Vitigliano tells of a calf (vitello) that escaped from the herd and was pursued by two cowherds who in this way discovered the location that is now Vitigliano. The coat of arms of this Vitigliano features a star at the top and below an olive tree with a calf next to it.


The name "Vitagliano" is in fairly common use as a personal name in southern Italy, especially in Campania and Calabria. Vitagliano is a dialectical variant of Vitaliano which in turn is derived from the Latin personal and family name Vitalianus, itself a derivative of vitalis, the Latin word meaning "of life, vital (in the sense of 'living')". Vitalis was also used as a personal name in Roman times and is the direct origin of the common Italian family names Vitale and Vidal and their multitudinous Anglo-Norman, French, Spanish and other variants. Vitellius and Vetilius are Roman personal names with derivations different from that of Vitalis.

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