Recorded as Piola, Pioli and Piolli, this is a famous Italian surname. It is generally considered to be one of a large group that derive their name from botany specifically plants and herbs, those most associated with medicine, or to be precise the growing of such for the production of medicine. Italian surnames are the most difficult of all European surnames to research with accuracy. Italy did not become a unified state until after Garibaldi's famous march on Rome in 1860. Until then it had been a loose confederation of about twelve statelets, some like Venice very rich, but mostly poor and impoverished. As a result little time and even less money was devoted to record keeping, unlike for instance England, where fairly accurate records can be found going back at least five hundred years. In addition the national sport of Italy for many centuries was to add patronymics and diminutives with each successive generation to the point where a surname could contain only one letter from the original spelling. Add to this that each state spoke its own version of Italian, so the same name spelling can have a totally different meaning in a different part of the county. In this case the name is generally considered to be occupational and to describe a carrot grower. However in Valle Anzasca a pioli is an axe, in Venice an annoying person and Piedmont, where they dont take prisoners - a nitwit! Researching Italian surnames can be a risky business.
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