Recorded in many forms including Laterza, Terzi, Terzzi, Terzo, Terzolo, Terzza and Terrazzo, this is an Italian surname. It is apparently topographical and if so originally described a person who lived by a "terrazzo". This may have been a terrace, but according to the book of Italian surnames by J.G.Fucilla, also refers to a belvedere or prominent observation point, although it may also refer to a covered gallery. There are many Italian names of similar background including Tinello, which means the servants quarters, or Scala, the stairs, and even Colonna, the column. However where considerable confusion arises with Italian surnames is in the use of patronymics and diminutives such as -o, -i, -ello,-ini and many more. These were applied liberally both as prefix and suffix between the different generations of a family, sometimes, although not with this surname, to the point where the original base form was ultimately reduced to two or in some cases only one letter! In other words although these surnames were hereditary from medieval times, they were often not fixed in their spelling, making any sort of record keeping and genealogy a total nightmare. Furthermore Italy until 1860, was simply a loose federation of states, some rich, but mostly poor, and record keeping where it existed was often erratic at best. In this case early examples of the name recordings taken from known Italian church registers include: Luigi Terzzi of Bergamo, on July 12th 1815, Santino Terzolo, of Sale, Alessandria, on December 8th 1859, and Vicente Laterza, of Sant Arcangelo, Potenza, on February 2nd 1899.
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