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.
In reading the last thread regarding Da Vinci...it got me thinking about my own family. On my father's side, we have ancestors from Bagheria with the last name Di Salvo. I have been able to trace this back to about 1800 so far. On my mother's side---we also have a Di Salvo line that we just traced to Barcellona PG --about 1806 so far. I found a Porto Salvo near BPG. Is it possible that Porto Salvo is the begininng of the Di Salvo's and that my ancestors in Bagheria are from there as well? THAT would make things interesting that's for sure!