Since the days of the beginnings of the Roman Empire in the 9th century b.c., Italy has sent her sons and daughters to populate the world. Amongst this great host have been the holders of the name Spiaggia and Piaggia. The origin is pre 7th century, it is topographical and describes a dweller on a sea shore. Italy has been described as the birthplace of modern civilisation. From the foundation of the city of Rome by Romulus in 732 b.c, through the republic of Julius Caesar, to the modern country which was created in 1860 by General Garibaldi, Italy has been at the forefront of the development of mankind. Such an advanced country required an equally advanced bureaucracy, and 'surnames' were a necessity in Italy from the eleventh century onwards. However unlike the northern European states, whose spellings became fixed from the medieval times, Italian surnames although hereditary, were also flexible in their spelling. This meant that whilst an Italian son would be given his fathers name, it was often in part only, and this part may have amounted to only one or two letters of the basic surname! Not surprisingly given such variations, Italian etymology can be very complex. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family name Piaggia has the blazon of azure three bars ore, on a chief gules three bezants (gold coins). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Pietro Piaggia, which was dated 1614, in the registers of San Carlo, Milano, Italy, during the reign of Pope Paul V, who reigned from 1605 - 1621. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.