Arfio Capodiferro origin ?
The question lies after many centuries to where Arfio Capo di Ferro sives Capodiferro really came from. We dig into his possibilities of connections and make a few assumptions, though it is purely suggestions until a real piece of primary document shows who his parents really were.
From a historical point of view, in Malta, Abela suggested that the family were from the noble family of Rome but was not able to confirm it but for historical context, it was the view to all that wrote about this family in the future.. Without any confirmation or denial of possibilities.
It is suggested that Arfio was born around 1420, maybe in Rome or maybe in his true country of origin and at the time in Rome, a Battista Capodiferro was the Guerriero Ambasciatore of Pope Eugenio IV and married to a Ceccia Capocci. So far, no genealogy of the earlier Capodiferro showed an Arfio as a member.
Battista Capodiferro and Cecilia Capocci had several known children, such as Bartolomeo, PierPaolo and Carolina. The family were Nobiles of Rome and intermarried with important Roman families. It may be suggested that Arfio could have been a slave of the family and served well to manage freedom. Albanian slaves at the time were ripe in Rome amongst many old familes. Albania at the time was going through horrid times of conflict with war with Venice. Perhaps upon the death of his master, Battista Capodiferro, Arfio was granted freedom. It is also possible that Arfio took on his masters surname upon receiving the christian faith.
As recorded history, we find Arfio in Syracusa around 1440 marrying the daughter of a Barone. And took up a Post in Malta as around 1479. This was the furtherest point from Rome. My question is, why so far from the Pinnical of the world, the Jewel of the World called Rome ?
Maybe, he was the younger son, or even an illegitimate son. Though it does not seem right to go to the ends of the world for a posting then settle there. There is no evidence to even suggest that Arfio had any ties to Rome or his so-called family. You will find his grandson changed his surname to Testaferrata. If one came from an illustrious family, why would you change your surname !. A Conti, Colonna, Orsini from Rome is GOLD and pure Roman nobility. If his grandson knew the true facts, he wanted it hiddien.. Think about it, why change ones surname, unless you have something to hide, perhaps !
I believe, possible to have received his freedom with high rank as a freeman, and much inheritances to be able to capture the daughter of a Sicilian Barone., then to settle in the island called Malta. Malta at the time was a fiefdom held by Sicilian nobility before the fiefdom was given to the Knights of St John of Rhodes.
The next question lies to Arfio’s grandson, Giacomo Capodiferro, who was born in Malta and changed his surname to Testaferrata. Around 1500 was the possible time when the surname of Testaferrata surfaced and became a Maltese surname. It can also be likely that Giacomo, who had married around 1500’s to the daughter of a Maltese nobleman. A new surname and the start of a new dynasty ! Can it be true that Giacomo found nothing to report of his ancestry and the true origin was to be hiddien from prying eyes. There also may be a chance that Giacomo may have burnt any documentation in Malta and in Syracusa linking Arfio’s true origin.
The painting above was not done around the time of Arfio but much much later, when a descendant painting all the ancestors and gave each one of them a very noble look.
These are all questions unanswered and possiblities are just that. Untill an actual original document shows Arfio’s parents and origin, we will never know. A created past linking to ancient royalty and glorfication was the destination origin in all books that have written on the Testaferrata family.
Maybe the future will find in some deep dark archive, a dowry or a letter of Arfio. Though Giacomo Testaferrata made it impossible for further generations to even dig in any avenue for an answer.