As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
I still don't know who this Botchgalup is supposed to be, I'm not into TV much but I can tell you that there was a famous Bacigalupo in Italy, he was a soccer player of the famous Torino team. In the year 1949 a plane crash took the lives of all the team's players.
Mr. Bacigalupo was a character on the old Abbott and Costello TV show. It is very possible Lou Costello took the name from the soccer player or from a family he knew in NJ. It is a funny name and Abbott and Costello used wordplay a lot in their comedy.
I think the word became popular from the tv show and entered American slang as a name for a kind of bumbling person. This explains Sophia's use of it on the Golden Girls. I can remember my Nonno and uncles using the phrase "What a Bagagaloop" (in dialect) as a mild insult.
My mother is the one who used to say it. She was one of 6....3 born in Calabria and 3 in USA. She was born USA. I heard her mother say it, and she also said it. My dad's people came from Grosseto/Tuscany, and I never heard it from any of them. I sort of think Jamoke referred to calling someone a jackass.
Looking for Biagianti, Modesti & Vincenti in Tuscany and Tomaino, Curcio, Mazza, & Rizzo in Calabria