The Sanvitale family has its origins in the early twelfth century (1122), when Ugo gave its family name, building a fortress tower on the Enza, dedicated to San Vitale. According to others, the surname originated from San Vitale Baganza, territories that belonged to the family. Other hypotheses still refer to the homes of this family who were near the ancient church of San Vitale in Parma.
Their filoguelfa position led them to occupy very important positions in different cities and to receive as a benefit the territory of Fontanellato in 1378 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, lord of Milan, who had occupied the domains that had been of the Terzi family. In 1404 the brothers Giberto and Gianmartino Sanvitale received the investiture by Gian Galeazzo Visconti for the county of Fontanellato.
The Sanvitale family grew up with three main branches, that of Sala and Colorno, the branch of Fontanellato and finally that of Parma.
The white shield crossed by a red band is dominated by a pair of griffins. This mythological being, together with the eagle and the lion, is the bearer of both the values of which the two creatures are symbols: wit and courage, two virtues that the Sanvitale family believed to be fundamental for good governance. Between the two griffins stands a column that supports a world which, in some documents, is dominated by a woman identifiable as Nike, the goddess of victory.