This Italian name is a variant spelling of either German or Polish origin. The German origination was Rata or Rato, and derives from 'Rat' a pre 7th century word meaning 'counsel', and first recorded in Italy as 'Ratta'. The Polish origin is 'Ratajski' - a word meaning 'the farmer or tiller of earth' from the pre 10th century. The Coat of Arms of Ratta is a silver field charged with a red lion rampant holding a blue crescent, the sign of a victory over the Turks. The name, Ratazzi, means 'a descendant of Rat(t)a', Italian name spelling being even more ambiguous than other nations. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Monseignor Ratta de Mandal which was dated C. 1680 Bologna, Northern Italy during the reign of Pope Innocent X1 1676-1689 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.