I was born in Vicenza, North East Italy. Hundreds of Schiavo families are still recorded in Vicenza. Most of them are direct relatives of mine. The story goes that some 500 years ago there were 13 male SCHIAVO brothers who decided to move out of CASTELGOMBERTO (a small village 10 km from Vicenza) and spread around Italy. The story was told me by my grandfather, also named Michele (1899-1981). Schiavo means 'slave' in Italian. It seems that the word much relates to Yugoslavia and 'slavonic' origins. There is a region in former Yugoslavia - south of Danube river - still known as SLAVONIA (I do not know the English name). The word CIAO (meaning 'hello') also originated from 'schiavo' word. Also check Austrians, who say 'servus', also meaning 'slave' (from latin). Pronunciation hint: in Italian we do not use the letter 'K'. The sound 'K' is then always written 'ch'. In other words, 'ch' must be read with the same sound of English 'k'.