San Vincenzo Ferreri


Title: Marchioness
Title in succession:
Date created:
10th November 1716 
Grant by:  
by King Philip V of Spain, Sicily and Naples 
Granted To: Mario Testaferrata de Robertis
Rep: Testaferrata-Bonici-Ghaxaq
Remainder to:
his legitimate and natural first born male descendants in perpetuity
Present Holder: Agnes Gera De Petri, Testaferrata-Bonici
British crown recognition: 1878
Foreign Titles not recognised by the Royal 1878 Commission: Marquis Testaferrata-Bonici
Note: This title was never registered at the chancellory of the Order in Malta, but full recognition was granted by Grand Master de Vilhena in a declaration on 30 April 1725

Previous coat of Arms


The Title of Marquisate  di San Vincenzo Ferreri was created on the year of 1716 by King Philip V of Spain, Sicily and Naples, with reminder to his legitimate and natural male descendants in perpetuity.

Mario Testaferrata de Robertis, was later created Marquis Testaferrata in 1717 (see Testaferrata) .

Mario Testaferrata de Robertis was the father of the Marquisate Testaferrata-Olivier, Cassar-Desain, Testaferrata ,and the Barony of Tabria and Qlejja.

Most of the nobility can claim Mario as an ancestor. Mario married three times, with a large family, and died in 1747.

Mario Testaferrata who became the Marquis di San Vincenzo Ferreri had three sons, two of whom two minor Orders. Both the Marquis and his brother, Canon Testaferrata, admitted on various occasions that it was always their intention that the cadets of the family would accept an ecclesiastical life. Lorenzo, the 'secondo genito' of Mario, was the first to become a cleric, being encouraged to do so by a promise made by his father and uncle to present his family benefices which , they claimed, provided 500 scudi annually. On the Morning of the 11 April 1797, Mario and his son Lorenzo returned from Messina. Two days after the arrival, the Marquis wrote several letters to his eldest son Giuseppe, who had remained in Messina. The Marquis complained that Lorenzo does not want to wear black socks and, moreover, he parades the streets of Valletta wearing white socks, slipper shoes and long hair tied at the back like a layman. His uncle, the Canon, was also very disturbed and wrote that 'the whole city was gossiping, and referring to Lorenzo as Mad'. At the age of 27, Lorenzo decided that he could no longer comply with the wishes of his father and those of his 'stupid and foolish uncle'. He declared that he had never wished to become a cleric and he 'did not want to have anything to do with black clothes or ecclesiastical property'. This made the Marquis and the Canon furious and their subsequent letters are full of references to Lorenzo as 'PAZZO'. They quickly decided that Filippo, the 'terzogenito' must become a cleric, and they instructed him to approach Bishop Labini with a request that he may receive the first tonsure. They argued that 'Filippo' had said on various occasions, that he would gladly receive the benefices. Filippo subsequently became a cleric. The Testaferrata, like other noble families, were thus able to retain most of their benefices.

A despute, which appears to have shocked everyone, involved Marquis Mario, the first Marquis of the Testaferrata family. Mario was involved in an incident which was called 'un successo cosi scandaloso'. The Bishop, Cocco Palmeri, had expressly forbidden the Valletta Jurats to drape their church bench with green damask. On the morning of Sunday, 26 June 1707, a mass was being celebrated in the church of St Paul Shipwrecked. Just after the Host had been consecrated, Mario Testaferrata, followed by three other Jurats, entered the Church. Immediately behind them was the 'Gran Visconte' accompanied by a number of 'sbirri' carrying a sack containing green damask. They marched up the central aisle intent on nailing the cloth to the Jurats bench. Among the surprised congregation there was the Bishop's Profiscale, who warned Testaferrata not to disturb the divine service, and instantly snatched the sack from the sbirri. Immediately, the Profiscale was violently manhandled and thrown to the ground by Mario's faithful sbirri.

As a sequal to this incident, Testaferrata and his associates were publicly excommunicated by the Bishop. Moreover, Mario was sentence to six months imprisonment in the castle by the Judges of Grand Master Perollos. He was removed from the Office of Jurat. He obtained his release in January 1708, but Mario was determined to apply to the Sicilian Monarchy for the revocation of his excommunication. The Grand Master did his utmost to dissuade Testaferrata from this course of action, but relising his determination the Grand Master signes the necessary permits for him to leave Malta. On 14 April 1708, Testaferrata boarded ship for Sicily, but was later put ashore since the crew refused to sail with a 'publico scomunicato' because they were afraid of 'il divino Castigo'. A week later Mario boarded a Sicilian schooner, and news of his arrival in Palermo reached Malta at the beginning of June that year. The Monarchia di Sicilia arbitrarily revoked the excommunication and granted Mario a Patent which placed him beyond Ecclesiastical jurisdiction. On the 18 July, Cardinal Paolucci, the Papal Secretary of State, ordered both the Inquisitor and the Bishop to imprison Mario Testaferrata should he ever return to Malta. Paulucci was assured that his instructions would be carried out to the letter.

Testaferrata continued to reside in Palermo and had no intention of returning to Malta. Since this frustrated the plan of Cardinal Paolucci, the Inquisitor of Malta then suggested that, if Mario's properties were to be sequestrated, he would obliged either to return to the island or go to Rome. Paolucci accepted this strategem, and Mario's properties were sequestrated. However, even this plan misfired. In September, the Sicilian Monarchy denounced the confiscation and decreed that Testaferrata must be compensated. To ensure that this would happen the Mensa Vescovile in Sicily was requisitioned and Testaferrata allowed to enjoy the revenue from the Bishop's properties which included the lands of Lentini.

When the Bishop found himself in financial difficulties he requested Perollos to pay him 3000 scudi out of the Order's coffers in compensation for loss of revenue from his Sicilian properties. Besides, Mario's estates in Malta did not prove to be so lucrative since their previous owners had been in debt with various legatees. When the Bishop's request was not complied with, he commented 'that at all cost the Grand Master intended to impoverish him'. However the only compensation that he got from Perollos was ab invitation to dinner, but on entering the dining hall, the Bishop lost his appetite when he saw that his chair was draped in green velvet!

Testaferrata was more fortunate. His services were recognised by King Philip V of Spain and the two Sicilies who made him Marquis di San Vincenzo Ferreri in the Kingdom of Naples. The letter-patent recorded that Mario was ennobled 'in consideration of what he had to endure for the defense of the Royal prerogatives.

The Marquis Mario Testaferrata had three sons, two of whom, Lorenzo and Filippo, did nothing to enhance the family name. Lorenzo, a cleric, fathered 'several children' by Angela Attard, the daughter of the family coachman. Filippo, also a cleric, had 'bastard sons' by one of the family maids, Vincenza Falanca. Eventually both brothers married the mothers of their children, this nearly drive their father completely mad. Fortunately for these noble cadets, as Lorenzo and Filippo are described-the Marquis who was 'feeble-minded and scarcely capable of managing his own affiars, was on even worse terms with his eldest son, Giuseppe the Baron di Tabria. Resulting from all the bad feelings towards the eldest son, Lorenzo was granted the prerogative of the family benefices and also allowed, by his father, to buy the family palazzo in Valletta, together with all its contents. On the other hand, Filipo was their heir to the Castelletti entail. These actions appear rather strange in view of the Marquis's former attitude towards his younger sons, and would appear to bear out the above statement on his mental state. This is even more astonishing since Mario, in his will, had excluded all bastards, even though they may have been legitimsed at law. He appears, however to have, possible inadvertantly, left a loophole by withdrawing the exclusion in the case of those bastards legitimised by subsequent marriage, provided that the marriage was not contracted with an ignoble female.

His eldest son Enrico succeeded as the 2nd Marquis , marrying Feliciata Cassar-Desain from the Wealthy Primogenture Cassar-Desain.

The 3rd Marquis, elder son of the 2rd Marquis, marrying a daughter of the 1st Count Sant .
The Barons Pisani and Galea-Feriol, Marquis Testaferrata and Count Sant were the first titled Jurats ever to serve together in 1776. Under the French occupation, the parents had to pay 800 livres for their sons' board and lodging, and 600 livres for their passage on board French warships. The chosen studnets had to waer 'blue trousers and waistcoats, red cuffs, and facing and white piping'. Those families who refused to send their sons to France were to be fined 1000 scudi. Among those who were initially chosen were the young Count Fontani, the three sons of Count Sant, and four other boys whose fathers were respectively Baron Galea, Marquis Mallia, Count Manduca, and Marquis Testaferrata.

The 4th Marquis, elder son of the 3rd Marquis, married in 1817 , the daughter of the Barony of Tabria (Testaferrata-Viani)

The 5th Marquis , elder son of the 4th Marquis, married in 1840 to a co-heiress of the Barony of Qlejja

The 6th Marquis, elder son of the 5th Marquis, also succeeded as the 5th Baron di Qlejja and the Primogeniture Ghaxaq, married in 1874 to the daughter of the Marquisate de Piro family

The 7th Marquis and 6th Baron di Qlejja, succeeded on the year of 1903, later marrying a daughter of the Baroncino di San Marciano, with two sons, whom each succeeded a title on The 7th Marquis`s death , 1945.

Alfio Testaferrata-Bonici-Ghaxaq, the elder son succeeded as the 8th Marquis, and his brother Lino succeeded as the Baron di Qlejja. (see Qlejja)

Alfio, died unmarried in 1988, and for the first time in this titles history, was succeeded by his late Brother`s eldest Daughter, Agnes (also noted the Marquisate Testaferrata went to the next Male kin Testaferrata).

Agnes Testaferrata-Bonici-Ghaxaq, succeeded firstly after her father`s death in 1982 the Barony di Qlejja, and in 1988, the Marquisate di San Vincenzo Ferreri.

Agnes married to Alfred Gera de Petri, and has two sons and a daughter. 
The heir to the Marquisate is her eldest son Daniele, as the Marchesino di San Vincenzo Ferreri.

A short view of the Family Tree of the Marquis's di San Vincenzo Ferreri;

Emmanuele Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, 6th Marquis di San Vincenzo Ferreri, e Testaferrata, 5th Baron di Qlejjgha (1843-1903), married 1874 to Filomena dei Marchese de Piro-Gourgion

1. Daniele Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, 7th Marquis di San Vincenzo Ferreri, e Testaferrata, 6th Baron di Qlejjgha (1880-1945), married 1910 to Agnese dei Baroni Galea-Testaferrata
1.1. Alfio Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, 8th Marquis di San Vincenzo Ferreri, e Testaferrata (1911-88), dunm.
1.2. Lino Testaferrata Bonici, 7th Baron di Qlejjgha (1917-82), married Maria dei Baroni Testaferrata Moroni Viani
1.2.1. Agnese Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq (1949- , 9th Marchioness di San Vincenzo Ferreri, 8th Baroness di Qlejjgha, married 1973 to Alfred Gera de Petri, B.Pharms. Daniele Gera de Petri Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq (1974- , Marchesino di San Vincenzo Ferreri. Dr. Andrea Gera de Petri Testaferrata Bonici, LL.D (1975- , Baroncino di Qlejjgha. Giulia Gera de Petri Testaferrata Bonici (1982-
1.2.2. Caren Testaferrata Bonici (1952- , married Dr Josef Preziosi, 10th Count Preziosi, with issue
1.2.3. Anna Marie Testaferrata Bonici (1961- , married 1984 to John Spiteri Debono, with issue
1.3. Elena Testaferrata Bonici (1915- , married Arthur Miles, with issue
1.4. Florence Testaferrata Bonici , married Colin Davidson Jensen, with issue
2. Esther Testaferrata Bonici , married 1906 to the 6th Count Fournier, with issue
3. Agata Testaferrata Bonici, married 1905 Philip dei Marchese Testaferrata Bonici (Her first Cousin) Also Her grand son is the eldest Male member of the Testaferrata Bonici family and carried the Italian Title of Marquis Testaferrata (See Marquis's Testaferrata)

Full Genealogical tree: 

Giacomo Testaferrata de Robertis, Capitano della Verga of Malta-1636-37, married Teodora Bonici, with issue

1. Mario Testaferrata de Robertis, 1st Marquis-See Below.

2. Camilla Testaferrata, maried 1673 to Nott. Giuseppe Cagnano JUD.

3. Leonora Testaferrata, dunm.

4. Maria Testaferrata, married 1679 to Paolo Cassar

* Mario Testaferrata de Robertis, (1654-1747), 1st Marquis of San Vincenzo Ferreri, (Cr: 1716-Sicily),

1st Marquis Testaferrata, (Cr: 1717-Spain), Married Firstly 1677 to Anna de Noto Cumbo, with issue.

Married Secondly 1697 to Elisabetta Castelletti, with issue.

Married thirdly 1727 to Alticunda Vassallo Castelletti, with issue.

1. (First Marriage) Enrico Testaferrata de Noto, 2nd Marquis-See Below.

2. (Second Marriage) Gilberto Testaferrata Castelletti, 1st Marquis 'Testaferrata-Castelletti'.-See Cassar Desain..

3. Pulcheria Testaferrata Castelletti, married Pietro Antonio Testaferrata dei Baroni di Castel Cicciano.

4. (Third Marriage) Gregorio Testaferrata Vassallo, (1740-...)


* Enrico Testaferrata de Noto, 2nd Marquis of San Vincenzo Ferreri and Testaferrata,

Married 1730 to Felicita Cassar Desain, with issue.
1. Saveria Testaferrata., d.inf.
2. Gregorio Testaferrata., d.inf.
3. Daniele Testaferrata, 3rd Marquis-See Below.

4. Pandolfo Testaferrata de Noto, 1st Marquis Testaferrata Olivier.-See Testaferrata Olivier.

5. Asteria Testaferrata, married 15th Baron di Djar-il-Bniet, with issue.
4. (Released from Slavery or perhaps an illegitimate child of Enrico). Maddalena Testaferrata, married 1765 to Martino Lamotta, with issue.

* Daniele Testaferrata, (Born 1733.), 3rd Marquis of San Vincenzo Ferreri, and Testaferrata.

Married 1781 to Maria dei Conti Sant, with issue.

1. Gregorio Augusto Testaferrata, 4th Marquis-See Below.

2. Raffaele Testaferrata, married Maria Spiteri

3. Anna Marie Testaferrata, married 3rd Baron of Qlejjgha, with issue

4. Angelica Testaferrata, married 2nd Marquis of Gnien is Sultan, with issue.

* Gregorio Augusto Testaferrata, (died 1828), 4th Marquis of San Vincenzo Ferreri, and Testaferrata.,

Married 1817 to Maria Testaferrata Viani dei Baroni di Tabria, with issue.

1. Daniele Maria Testaferrata, 5th Marquis-See Below.

2. Fr.Giovanni Francesco Testaferrata, dunm.

3. Arfio Filippo Testaferrata, (1823-77)., dunm.

4. Publio Testaferrata, (1821-...),married Regina Galizia, with issue.

4.1. Augusto Gregorio Testaferrata, (1850-

4.2. Tes'Attilio Testaferrata, (1852-

4.3. Niccolo Testaferrata

4.4. Luigi Testaferrata, (1863-

4.5. Carmela Augusta Testaferrata, (1844-

4.6. Giulia Testaferrata, (1860-

5. Asteria Testaferrata, married 1843 to Major Cavarra, with issue.

5.1. Irene Cavarra, married Dr. Alfonso d'Armenia, LL.D, with issue.

* Daniele Maria Testaferrata, (1819-63), 5th Marqis of San Vincenzo Ferreri, and Testaferrata.,

Married 1840 to Eugenia Bonici dei Baroni della Qlejjgha, with issue.

1. Emmanuele Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, 6th Marquis-See Below.

2. Ignazio Testaferrata Bonici, (1848-1928), married 1877 to Maria Carmela dei Marchesi Testaferrata, with issue.

2.1. Philip Testaferrata Bonici, (1878-1933), married Agata Testaferrata Bonici -See Below., with issue.

2.1.1. Dr Victor Emmanuele Testaferrata Bonici,MD., (1907-1976), married 1950 to Victoria Zammit Maempel, with issue. Joseph Phillip Testaferrata Bonici, 9th Marquis Testaferrata-See Foreign Titles- Testaferrata.. Rita Testaferrata Bonici, (1952- Marie Testaferrata Bonici, (1954- , married 1986 to Nicholas Bianchi, with issue.

2.1.2. Maria Testaferrata Bonici, (1909-

2.1.3. Beatrice Testaferrata Bonici, (1911-, married Joseph Amato Gauci, (See Gauci-Barony), with issue.

2.1.4. Josephine Testaferrata Bonici, (1913-

2.1.5. Lucy Testaferrata Bonici, Married 1941 to Alfred Bencini, with issue. Col. Dr Raymond Bencini, (1944-, married Marlena Warstat, with issue Alexander Bencini Phillip Bencini Tara Bencini, married Timothy Sinclair Ramona Bencini Marlene Bencini, married Dr. Anton Zammit Bonett, with issue Dr Shaun Bonett, LL.D Dr Stephen Bonett, LL.D Freda Bencini, married Herbert Naudi, with issue Mireille Naudi Roberto Naudi

2.5.4. Denise Bencini, married Udo Turscherl, with issue

2.5.1. Nadine Turscherl

2.2. Eugenia Testaferrata Bonici, (1892-

3. Carmela Testaferrata, (1841-)

* Emmanuele Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, (1843-1903),

6th Marquis of San Vincenzo Ferreri and Testaferrata., 5th Baron of Qlejjgha.

Married 1874 to Filomena de Piro dei Baroni di Budaq, with issue.
1. Antonio Testaferrata Bonici, (1879- ob.Inf.)

2. Daniele Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, 7th Marquis-See Below.

3. Esther Testaferrata Bonici (1876- , married 6th Count Fournier, with issue.

4. Agata Testaferrata Bonici (1878-1933), married 1905 to her cousin -See Above. Philip Testaferrata Bonici, with issue.

5. Antonio Testaferrata Bonici, (1879-)

* Daniele Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, (1880-1945),

7th Marquis of San Vincenzo Ferreri and Testaferrata, 6th Baron of Qlejjgha.,

Married 1910 to Agnese dei Baroni Galea Testaferrata, with issue.
1. Alfio Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, 8th Marquis-See Below.

2. Lino Testaferrata Bonici, (1917-82), 7th Baron of Qlejjgha, married 1948 to Maria Testaferrata Moroni Viani, with issue-See Qlejjgha for all issue..

2.1. Agnese Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, (1949-, Acknowledged by the COP as the 8th Baroness of Qlejjgha and 9th Marchioness of San Vincenzo Ferreri., Married 1973 to Alfred Gera de Petri, B.Pharm, with issue

2.1.1. Daniele Gera de Petri Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, KM, (1974-., married 2003 to Enyd Pisani.

2.1.2. Dr Andrea Gera de Petri Testaferrata Bonici,LL.D, (1975-, married 2003 to Kate De Cesare., with issue. Georgia Gera de Petri, (2004-.

2.1.3. Giulia Gera de Petri Testaferrata Bonici, (1982-

3. Helen Testaferrata Bonici, (1915-2004), married 1949 to F/Lt. Arthur Miles.
4. Florence Testaferrata Bonici, (1919-, married 1949 to Capt. Colin Davidson-Jenson, with issue.
4.1. Nicholas Davidson Jenson, (1952-.
4.2. Irene Davidson Jenson, (1950-, married 1985 to John Bache.

* Alfio Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, (1911-88),

8th Marquis of San Vincenzo Ferreri and Testaferrata, dunm.

* Agnes Gera de Petri Testaferrata Bonici Ghaxaq, ,Alfio, died unmarried in 1988, and for the first time in this titles history, was succeeded by his late Brother`s eldest Daughter, Agnes (also noted the Marquisate Testaferrata went to the next Male kin Testaferrata). 9th Marchioness of San Vincenzo Ferreri and Testaferrata,

(IF THERE ARE ANY UPDATES TO ANY TREES, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO '[email protected]' stating site you seen the genealogical tree and updates.)

References: 1) Gauci,C.A.," The Genealogy and Heraldry of the Noble Families of Malta", Gulf Publishing Ltd, Malta, 1981.
2) Gauci,C.A.," The Genealogy and Heraldry of the Noble Families of Malta, Volume Two", Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd, 1992.
3) Gauci,C.A and Mallet, P.,"The Palaeologos Family- A Genealogical Review" ,Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd, 1985
4) Gauci, C.A.," A Guide to the Maltese Nobility", Publishers Enterprise Group (PEG) Ltd, Malta, 1986.
5) Montalto, J., "The Nobles of Malta-1530-1800", Midsea Books Ltd, Malta, 1980.
6) De Piro, N., "Casa Rocco Piccola", The Conde' Nast Publications 1999.' Http:// '
7) Giles Ash, S., "The Nobility of Malta", Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd, 1988.
8) Said Vassallo, C.M., Unpublished research papers.
9) Said Vassallo, C.M., Research site


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