The surname SAVONA has been
interpreted to be Jewish surname referring to the place by that name.
This was probably adopted by a Jewish converso family living in the
city possibly during the fifteenth century [1
The city of SAVONA
in the Liguria Region on the northern coast of Italy is a small (pop.
1951 68698) industrial city with iron, ship building, glass and tin
plate works. It also exports preserved fruits and tomatoes. It is not
lacking in works of art: among them a Polyptych by Foppa in the Church
of S. Maria del Castello; the Renaissance Cathedral with the
magnificent Baptistery dating from before the 11th century; the Palazzo
pozzobonello which contains a small but interesting collection of
pictures with about 90 works by Donato de’ Bardi, Mazoni and Foppa; and
the Palazzo delle Rovere designed by Sangallo. Facing onto the harbour
is the Tower of Leon Pancaldo named after the Savona navigator who
sailed with Magellan; and the Priamar Fortress behind the Public
Gardens on a height.
of Arms of City of Savona
The surname has been said to have had alternative forms including
SAGONA, SAONA, and SAHON. The form SAGONA remains one of the Maltese
surnames as SEGUNA, which surname has a definite coat-of-arm crest
different from that of SAVONA. The Commendatore Giovanni Francesco
Abela in 1647 described the SAGONA family. Di questa famiglia, che fu` delle
primarie, non meno in Malta, che nel Gozo, ritrouiamo essere stato
Giurato della nostra Citta` Bernardo nel 1471. Nardo pure Giurato nel
1476. Nicolo` similmente Giurato negli' anni 1513, 1514, 1517, 1520,
1521, 1522, 1526 & 1531. Cittadino di molta bonta`, e rettidudine,
come si puo` far conseguenza dall'essere stato eletto per tanti anni,
ad amministrare quel carico, massimamente ch'allora, co'l suffragio di
certo numero di Cittadini, si faceva lo scrutinio degl'officiali. Nardo
Sagona sopraintedente alle publiche fabriche della Citta nel Gozo, per
priuilegio concedutogh dalli Regi Giovanna, e Carlo l'anno 1516 dato in
Bruselles a` 30. Di Settembre v. Ind. E Giuliano Sagona Capitano del
Gozo nel 1548
Giovanni Pietro Francesco Agius de Soldanis in 1746 wrote that "The Sagona family is also called Saguna
and Saona. It is very ancient in both Islands. In 1300 Don Ruggiero
Sagona, a native of Gozo and Canon of the Cathedral of Malta founded
the benefice called Tad-Dawwara in the region of Gerduf. From the
offices the members of this family held in the seventeenth century one
can see that the Grand Masters considered this family to be a noble
family. In 1543, the nobleman Nicholas Sagona was secretary in Gozo.
This is what he wrote about himself: 'Nicolo` Sagona Vice-Secretary in
Gozo by a privilege granted to him by Queen Giovanna and King Charles
in 1516, from Brussels, on 30 September 1516'"
. The SAHON surname is mentioned in the Militia List
of 1419 with one person being listed from Rabat-Mdina [3a
The SAVONA crest in use in Malta is figured above [4
. The earliest mention of the surname form SAVONA in
the Maltese Islands dates to the sixteenth century when a Giulio SAVONA
known to have served as Juror of Gozo in 1542 [5
. On the 20th October 1669, Don Carlo SAVONA
was nominated Canon designate of the proposed Vittoriosa Collegiate due
to be set up on the basis of the income derived from the legacy of Dr.
Gio. Maria Abela. He was installed in office on the 31st July 1681, but
because of loss of the legacy the post lasted only until 1684 [6
. In the 17th century, a Tomaso SAVONA
Angeluzza N. and had a son named Leonardo SAVONA
who in 1688 married anna Genuis in Valletta.
A Don Nicola
was imprisoned at Vittoriosa c.1775 over a satirical comedy written by
a Dominican friar Nicola Capici. This comedy featured two of the Grand
Master Pinto’s employees. Don Savona who had borrowed the manuscript
from the author, had unknowingly lent it to one of the satirised
individuals who complained to the Grand Master. Angered Don Savona
confronted the individual and was thrown into prison for his pains [7
. Other known SAVONAs include: Antonio SAVONA
who presented Suppliche
to the Grand Master [8
; and Gaspare SAVONA
of Valletta who on the 14th July 1791 prepared his will and trestament
on admission to the Sacra Infermeria
In the late eighteenth century, the merchant Paolo SAVONA
known to have sympathised with the French during the period of French
rule in Malta. An anonymous writing found near door of a shop in
Cospicua on 11th August 1798 accused Paul
, an ex-merchant, as having betrayed his country; while a
French dispatch dated 26th August 1799 records that “Un Batiment Maltais appartenent a` Paul
Savona, par[ti] sur mes instance, pour Civita Vecchia, a ete pris a` la
cote d’Avola en Sicile par un Brich Anglais. J’ai ecrit au Consul pour
le reclamer et il a deja fait des demarches, jusqu’ a` present inutiles
malgre leur ligitimite”.
In 1808, a Paolo SAVONA was residing in
Paris moving later to Toulouse. He eventually settled for some time in
Perpignan and in 1816, there is evidence that he was in Marseilles. In
1808, Paolo Savona was officially appointed by the French Government to
take charge of the cultivation of cotton in France, or at least in the
Oriental Pyrenees. He attempted to procure cotton-seed from Spain and
seems to have been close to Bonaparte and his ministers. He had at
least one son [10
The surname SAVONA appears in the Status
1679-1833 of Vittoriosa [11
. The 1872 Electoral Register identified four SAVONAs
eligible to vote including Antonio, Vincenzo, Salvatore and Sigismondo,
all living in Valletta except for the latter who initially lived in
. One Savona
Family line [that of Salvatore SAVONA
was characterised by three generations of political personalities - Sigismondo SAVONA
and Victor SAVONA
a political meeting organised by Sigismondo
SAVONA in 1893, the police arrested a Vincenzo
SAVONA reported in their
records to be Sigismondo SAVONA's
brother. However, Sigismondo SAVONA
had no brothers and Vincenzo SAVONA
may have been a further relation, possibly a cousin. Francesco
SAVONA had a son named Vincenzo SAVONA who would
have been a contemporary to Sigismondo SAVONA [11a].
A SAVONA from Marsa was a renowned cobbler during the early twentieth
century. A Giuseppe
, aged 16 years
[b.1887], on the 29th October 1903 is reported to have attempted
suicide using a shoemaker’s knife while in his father’s boot-shop in
Reale, Valletta. The attempt was foiled by emergency surgery at the
from Valletta wrote "Bidu
ta' taghlim fuq il-konkos. Kemtejn lill-Imghallem. Ghamil ta' Slabs
." Malta, St. Joseph Press, 1944 +12p. [NML
BU-3-27]. A Joseph SAVONA
most likely the same individual, was
also reported in the Government Annual Reports [Education] of 1931 as
having placed first "scum laude" with 85% of the marks in the course of
BE&A. He was awarded a scholarship to continue his studies. He
applied for a pastport on the 6th September 1933 [Appl.No. 12195]
stating his occupation as "student".
The 1996 Telephone Directory lists a total of 36 Savona households
[including PSAILA-SAVONA, IZZI-SAVONA and SAVONA-VENTURA]; while the
1998 directory similarly lists 36 SAVONA households in Malta and 1 in
 J. Aquilina: Papers in Maltese
University Press, Malta, 1981, p.187
 G.F. Abela: Della
Descrittione di Malta Isola nel Mare
Siciliano con le sue Antichita`, ed altri notitie. Paolo Bonacota,
Malta, 1647, p.529 [facsimile copy Midsea Books Ltd, Malta, 1984]
 GPF Agius de
Soldanis. Il Gozo Antico-moderno e
Sacro-profano, Isola Mediterranea adiacente a Malta
Africana. Manuscript National Archives, Gozo, 1746.
[English translation: A. Mercieca: Gozo.
Ancient and Modern Religious and Profane. Media Centre Publ., Malta,
[3a] G. Wettinger: List
Maltese Surnames from 1419 and 1480.
 C.A. Gauci: An
illustrated collection of the Coats-of-Arms of Maltese Families. PEG,
Malta, 1996, p.164
 G.P.F. Agius de
Soldanis [english translation A. Bonnici,
op. cit., p.134]
 AAF Beneficiatura
ed altri Documenti della Chiesa
Parrochiale di Vittoriosa dal 1648 al 1796. fol. 59v-60v. as reported
in J.F. Porsella-Flores:
The Diocesan Clergy. In: Birgu. A Maltese Maritime City (L. Bugeja, M.
Buhagiar, S. Fiorini, eds). Malta University Services Ltd, 1993,
 G. Bonello:
Histories of Malta.
Deceptions and Perceptions.
Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, Malta, 2000, p.149 reporting Lib. Ms.
 AOM: Suppliche di
Antonio Savona, usciere dell'ufficio del Consiolato del Mare. Relazione
del Consolato del Mare (ff. 463/490). resc. 9.VII.1718. Arch. 1186,
Tomo V, ff.462/491; AOM: Suppliche di Bernardo Savona. resc.
15.XII.1731. Arch. 1187, Tomo VI, ff.285/296
 AOM: Testamento
fatto da Gaspare Savona di Valletta, 14.VII.1791. Arch.1746, ff.77-78.
 C. Testa: The
French in Malta
1798-1800. Midsea publ., Malta, 1997, p.245; W. Hardman. A History of
during the period of the French and British Occupations 1798-1815.
Longmans, London, 1909, p.99; G. Bonello: Maltese
in Spain during the Napoleonic Age. Histories of Malta.
Versions and Diversions.
Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, Malta, 2002, p.200-211 [copies relevant
correspondence in holding - originals in holding of G. Bonello]
 L. Zahra:
Animarum dwar l-Belt Vittoriosa. Pronostku
Malti. Almanak ta' Malta u Ghawdex. G. Muscat & Co. Ltd., Malta,
[11a] H. Frendo.
Politics in a Fortress Colony. The
Maltese Experience. Midsea Books, Malta,
1979, p.77; Sister Emma Savona S.J.A. surviving grandchild in lit. of
18 January 1999 confirms that Sigismondo
SAVONA had no brothers. Michael
SAVONA reports that his father William SAVONA [Francesco
SAVONA line] used to refer to William
SAVONA [Salvatore SAVONA line] as
 1872 Electoral
Register. Malta Government Gazette
15/02/1872, 2507:p.29-44. Lists: Antonio Savona residing at 17
Brittania Street, Valletta; Vincenzo Savona at 85 Piazza S. Biagio,
Valletta; Salvatore Savona at 62 Strada San Giovanni, Valletta; and
Sigismondo Savona at 19 Strada Sant Anna,
Floriana. The latter eventually moved to Palazzo Caraffa, No.94 Strada
Forni, Valletta: vide In-Nahla
5th December 1908 No.15:p.103-105
 H. Ganado. Rajt
Tinbidel. Interprint, Malta, 1977, vol.1, p.245; Serious accident.
Chronicle, 30th October 1903. Michael Savona owned and used a set of
wooden cobbler's shoe moulds now donated to Heritage Malta. These
originally belonged to his grandfather named Paolo Savona born Floriana
1855. Paolo and his brother
Francesco in their youth were "apprenticed" by their parents to a
cobbler where they learned the trade. The moulds and trade were passed
Paolo's son William Savona [born Floriana 1889, died Hamrun 1964].
Savona apparently ran a number of cobbler's establishments in Floriana,
and Marsa-Hamrun. He obviously added on to the collection. The moulds
passed down to his son Michael Savona [born Hamrun 1927].
Corporation: Lista Alfabetika
tat-Telefon/Telephone Directory. TeleMalta Co., Malta, 1996,
p.457,661,623; MaltaCom: Lista Alfabetika tat-Telefon/Telephone
Directory. MaltaCom, Malta, 1998, p.489,655,693,890: MaltaCom:
Direttorju tat-telefon/telephone directory.
MaltaCom, Malta, 200, p.400,528,558,737; further information from SLH
PAS System: 18th April
Savona Family Tree