Family name origins & meanings
- Italian : nickname for a stubborn, malicious, or treacherous person, from malus (feminine mala) ‘bad’, ‘evil’ + testa ‘head’.
- The Malatestas were a noble family who ruled Rimini during the Italian Renaissance. Sigismondo Malatesta (1417–68) is often regarded as the prototype of an Italian Renaissance prince. Ercole Malatesta was a soldier in the service of Venice in the 16th century; in 1582, as commander of the guard in Rethimno (Crete), he led an attack on the Turks in the Peloponnese.