Recorded as Batalini, Battalina, Battalana, and probably others, this is an Italian surname. It almost certainly originates from the Roman word 'batu' meaning to beat, and as such may have been applied to a number of occupations where 'beating' was part of the process. These are known to include such diverse activities as wool combing (battilana), gold beating (battiloro) and iron making (battiferro). Another possible alternative in a transferred sense is as a nickname for somebody who liked a fight! The Dictionary of Italian Surnames is prefaced by the remark that 'the subject (or etymology) is unusually complicated...' which can be described as by any standards an understatement. In most of Europe surnames became fixed in the hereditary spellings as far back as the year 1500, and several centuries earlier in most of the British Isles. However this was not the case in Italy where over the centuries successive generations of the same family often vied to add suffix and prefix almost at will to the base name form. The coming of the united state of Italy in 1860 mostly brought this laizet-faire approach to an end. In this case the name has had at least a patroymic and diminultive suffix added to give the meaning of 'the son of Little Batu'.
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