List of Sicilian and Italian Occupations

    Many Sicilian civil records show an individual’s ‘professione’, ‘occupazione’ or ‘condizione’ (profession, occupation, condition or status).   It is important to make note of these and understand them, as different persons may have the same names, but may be differentiated by their status.  Common occupations were ‘agricoltore’, ‘campagnuolo’, and ‘contadino’, all of which some researchers translate as ‘farmer’.  That fails to reflect the actual condition or status of the individual.  An ‘agricoltore’, sometimes called a ‘massaro’ was the owner or manager of a farm, someone we might call a ‘gentleman farmer’.  A ‘campagnuolo’ was a ‘field hand’, hired by the ‘agricoltore’ for a day, week, or season’s work in the fields.  A ‘contadino’ was a peasant sharecropper (what might be called a ‘dirt farmer’) who worked another’s (the farmer’s) land for a small share of the crops and sometimes a place to live.  Clearly, there was a difference in status between these ‘condizioni’.

   City dwellers also had class-distinctive descriptors for their condition: ‘civile’, ‘proprietario’, ‘borgese’, ‘villico’ and ‘volgare’.   ‘Civile’ denoted an upper-class citizen, often a civil servant.  A ‘proprietario’ was a proprietor of a business or a landlord, a property owner.  A ‘borgese’ was a middle-class townsman.  ‘Villico’ is interpreted by many to mean simply ‘villager’, but it would never be applied to upper- or middle-class village residents.  Its meaning is closer to ‘peasant villager’.  And ‘volgare’ denotes the vulgar or lowest class, that of  ‘commoner’.  Another descriptor that was used in civil records from the early 1880’s through 1860 was ‘regnicolo’: literally, ‘subject of the Realm’, meaning ‘subject of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.’

    Napoleonic-format civil records use a wealth of different ‘condizione’.  Some are listed below, and you will note that many surnames ultimately were derived from a person’s occupation or condition.

     

acquaiolo: water supplier

agricoltore: farmer owner, manager
agrimensore
: land surveyor
arte donnesca
: women’s arts (lace-making)

barbiere: barber
becchino
: gravedigger, undertaker

bordonaro: muleteer

borgese: middle-class townsman
bottegaio, bottegaro
: shopkeeper
bracciale, bracciante: day laborer
calzolaio: shoemaker
campagnuolo
: field hand
campiere
: armed range guard

capraio, capraro: goatherd
cartalana
: wool-carder

carrettiere: carter
casalinga: housewife, housekeeper

civile: upper-class citizen, civil servant
contadino
: peasant sharecropper

cordaio, cordaro: rope maker

crivellaio, crivellatore: sieve-maker
cretaio, cretaro
: potter
cucitrice
: seamstress, often a midwife
donna di casa: housewife

falegname: cabinetmaker, carpenter
ferraro
: blacksmith

ferrofabbro: blacksmith

filatrice, filandiera: spinner of thread
fruttivendolo: fruit vendor

fornaro: baker
impiegato
: servant, employee

      industrioso: workman
     
levatrice: midwife
      maniscalco: blacksmith

manuale: day laborer

marinaio, marinaro: sailor

mascellaio: butcher
massaro:
farm owner, manager
meccanico
: mechanic, engineer

molinaro: miller
mugnaio: miller
muratore
: stonemason, wall builder
murifabbro
: stonemason, wall builder

notaro: notary
nutrice
: wet-nurse
operaio: worker
ortolano
: greengrocer
panettiere
: baker
parroco
: parish priest
pastaio
: pasta maker
pastore
: shepherd
pecoraio, pecoraro
: shepherd
pescatore: fisherman

pescevendolo: fishmonger

possidente: landowner

recivetrice (dei proietti): receiver of foundlings

ruotaia, ruotara: foundling wheel tender

sarto: tailor
sensale
: broker, middleman”
stagnataio: tinker, solderer

tessitore: male weaver

tessitrice: female weaver
trafficante: dealer, barterer

vaccaro: cattle herder
vetturale: liveryman

      villico: peasant villager
      volgare
: commoner
      zolfaio, zolfaro, zolfataio, zolfataro
: sulfur miner
 

     The above are 'condizioni' that I have found cited in Sicilian and Italian civil records of birth, marriage and death that were recorded during the 1800's and the early 1900's.  For a more complete list, including modern occupations, see Michael Lodico's page at www.lodico.org/mike/html/occupations.html

 
SICILIAN LINKS Sicilianità Is Sicily 'Italy'? The Sicilian Languge
Cognomi ~ Sicilian Surnames Ngiurii ~ Sicilian Nicknames Place-names as surnames Sicilian Coats of Arms
Foundlings The Sicilian Naming Convention Americanized Sicilian Given Names Converting Latin given names to Sicilian
La Bedda Sicilia ~ My history of Sicily Heritage Path ~ original Sicilian records Civil Record Format ~ 1820 - 1910 I'm a Sicilian American
My Lectures on Sicilian Genealogy Sicilian Occupations in Civil Records Sicilian Records at the Buffalo FHC The Thing
 
 
       Read my book of historical fiction, The Lady of the Wheel, inspired by my experiences in Sicilian genealogical research.  It tells the story of foundlings and sulfur mine workers and life in their community of Racalmuto during the late 1800s in Sicily.  Interspersed in the tale are episodes derived from the real-life experiences of my family, which originated in the small Sicilian town of Serradifalco.

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