Recorded in a variety of forms which appear to include Campa, Campi, Campo, Campanelle, Campanelli, Campatelli, Campese, de Campbellis (Italian) and Champenois, Champagne, and Campagne (French), this is a surname of Roman origins. However spelt it is a derivative of the Latin word "campus". In general this means field or plain as in the French town name of Champagne, but it may also have described a flower such as a blue bell, or even just a bell itself. The origination in all cases is from the word 'campania' meaning 'flat'. Ialian surnames are most difficult to research with accuracy, and even the Dictionary of Italian Surnames prefaces its remarks with "This is an extraordinarily difficult subject". Amongst the many complications is that whilst hereditary, surnames rarely retained the same spelling form between generations who liked to add there own distinctive prefix or suffix, and sometimes both, to the original base, which itself may be reduced to just one of two letters. Added to which the eventual spelling would often mean different things in different parts of the country! In France the problem is simply lack of accurate church records before the famous revolution of 1792. Most registers were destroyed as being 'instruments of the secret police'. Examples of the recordings that we have found include Angela de Campbellis of San Benedetto, Mantova, on February 10th 1711, and Paolo Campelli, who married Luigia Cavagnaro at Genova, on January 27th 1874.
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