on June 16, 2020

Toledo Pizza, centuries of history

on June 16, 2020

Toledo Piza, séculos de história

One of the most traditional families present in the Southeast Brazil, the history of Toledo Pizza goes back centuries. The composite surname predates even European arrival in America, with records on the peninsula Iberia, Azores and in Mexico.

The surname Toledo is very old, originating in Spain, with the trunk of Count Per Illán, who belonged to the House of Emperors of Greece and lived in the first half of the 13th century. The surname, of toponymic origin, was used primarily by his grandson, Esteban Illán, which took the city of Toledo from the Moors during the Reconquest period. During the Middle Ages, several family members settled in Portugal.

The other part of the compound surname, Piza (or Pisa) has an uncertain origin, with ancient historians who also claim to have a toponymic origin, referring to the Italian city. Nowadays, although not widespread, family members can be found in different regions of Spain, such as Huesca, Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, as well as more rarely in Valladollid, Seville, Burgos, Asturias and Toledo. In Catalonia there are records of members with the spelling Pisà and in Aragón there are the first records in 1495, with houses in Boltaña, Alquézar, Barbastro, Lastanosa and Olsón.


Toledo Pizza in Spain

In Spain there is still a Sephardic branch of surname, which adopted the spelling Piza, with z, as a way of identifying the Jewish members of the surname. However, in Brazil, the recognized Sephardic branch of the family follows Sebastião de Freitas, which will be discussed below.

Only in the 17th century are there records of the family in Brazil. The story begins with Dom Simão de Toledo Pizza. Born in 1612 in Angra, Terceira Island of the Azores, there he was baptized on November 4, in the church of Sé. His parents were Dona Gracia da Fonseca and Don Juan Castelhanos de Toledo Pizza, who participated in the invasion of the Azores in the Spanish armada commanded by the Marquis of Santa Cruz in 1583. His performance deserved the recognition of his superiors in a list of soldiers who showed more value in the battle. By winning, the Castilians ended the last bastion of resistance to the union of the two Iberian crowns on the head of Felipe II of Spain.


What is certain is that Dom Simão got married in captaincy of São Paulo with Maria Pedroso de Alvarenga, daughter of Sebastião Fernandes Correa, 1st provider (owner) and accountant of the royal farm of the captaincy of São Vicente and São Paulo, and Anna Ribeiro. Of marriage is that the Toledo Piza family intertwines with the new Christian Sebastião de Freitas, grandfather of the bride.

Soon D. Simão stood out in local society, holding important positions, such as that of ordinary judge and orphans for 19 years, that of ombudsman and corregidor of the same captaincy, that of captain-major and that of governor. The following centuries, marked by the countless marriages between the noble families of the region, originated several important branches, among which the Arnaut de Toledo, Silva Toledo, Ferreira de Toledo, Pires de Toledo, among others.

Important to remember: Last names are indications, but they do not determine whether or not you are descendants of Sephardic Jews. To prove this link, a genealogical study is really necessary.