This is an Italian residential surname. It is one of a major topographical group which include names such as Bosco, Boscacci (wood), Macchia, Ronchetti (thicket), Cesaro, Fiorita (kitchen garden), Vigna (vineyard), Campo, Campari, Pascoli, Prati, (field or meadow) and many others, which describe a person who lived by or worked at such a place. Italian surnames are probably the most difficult in all of Europe to research with accuracy. Italian is a very modern language "created" in the late 19th century, when the country itself was made into a unified state from previously twelve separate statelets and principalities. Many of these states were very poor, and few could be bothered to create the state records by way of births, deaths and marriage registers, which have applied in the British Isles for the past five hundred years. However with this name we have struck lucky with Italian church recordings as early as the mid 17th century. These include Antonio Prati who married Bartelemeo Oliario at Vercelli, Piatto, on May 5th 1642, and two centuries later that of Guiseppe Prati de Pellati, who was christened at Genova, on April 23rd 1854.
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