In Italy only the noble class was entitled to bear coats of arms. The kings rewarded persons who performed a heroic deed or notable achievement or who held a prominent position in government by granting them a noble title and the right to use a coat of arms. These grants were documented.
Various authors in Italy have prepared armorials, or heraldry books. An armorial is a collection of descriptions of coats of arms and the families that bear them. It also briefly describes the family’s entitlement to a particular coat of arms. It may also note early bearers of a coat of arms, sometimes with relationships, birth dates, and other genealogical information. Each armorial is different from others and includes different names. Some minor noble families are not included in any books. The following sources are of particular interest in Italy:
- Rivista Araldica (Heraldic magazine). Roma: Collegio Araldica, 1904–. (FHL book EUROPE 945, D65r.)
- Guelfi Camajani, Piero, conte, 1896–. Dizionario araldico: terza edizione notevolmente ampliata e corredata di 573 illustrazioni (Heraldic dictionary: third edition, enlarged and improved with 573 illustrations). Bologna: Arnaldo Forni, . (FHL book EUROPE 945 D66g.)
The Family History Library has collected some armorials, which are listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
Sources about the Italian nobility are listed in the Locality Search of the catalog under: