Journey to discover the ancestors of the American actor, originally from Puglia
Sylvester Enzio Stallone was born in New York on July 6, 1946, to Frank Stallone (1919-2011), a barber born in Italy, and Jacqueline Labofish (1921-2020). We all grew up with the films of this legendary American actor: his characters (Rocky Balboa and John Rambo above all) have become true icons of popular culture!
Sly‘s Italian ancestry is well known, but what do we know about his ancestry? A lot of information circulates on the net, and as often happens in family histories, some of them are completely unfounded (such as that relating to the alleged Sicilian origins of the Stallones). In this article I will guide you to discover Sylvester Stallone’s Italian ancestors, in a wonderful journey through time through the original documents of past eras!
The father: Francesco “Frank” Stallone (1919-2011)
Francesco Stallone (later Americanized as Frank) was born on Friday 12 September 1919 in Gioia del Colle, in the province of Bari (capital of Puglia, a region in southern Italy), the son of Silvestro Stallone, a 36-year-old barber, and Pulcheria Nicastri, a housewife, in their house located in Piazza XX Settembre 51. Being the second son of the couple, as per tradition Francesco inherits the name from his maternal grandfather Francesco Nicastri.
Like many other compatriots before and after them, Sylvester’s grandparents emigrated to the United States in search of better fortunes. First Silvestro, who reaches New York in April 1930, followed two years later by his wife Pulcheria and their children Domenico, Francesco (Sly’s father), Rosa and Anna, aged 15, 13, 10 and 2 respectively. who from Naples reached Ellis Island on 27 October 1932, after having crossed the Atlantic for twelve days on board the ocean liner Saturnia. In the United States Francesco Stallone is called Frank and continues the barber business inherited from his father.
In 1945 Frank Stallone marries Jacqueline Labofish (1921-2020), an American astrologer, daughter of a Ukrainian Jew from Odessa and a French Catholic from Brest. After their first parent Sylvester (1946), in 1950 the couple had another son, Frank Jr. (who would become a singer and musician), before separating.
Francesco “Frank” Stallone died on Monday, July 11, 2011 in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, at the ripe old age of 91.
The grandfather: Sylvester Stallone (1883-1963)
Silvestro Stallone was born on Saturday 10 November 1883 in Gioia del Colle, in the house of his parents Domenico Stallone and Maria Giuditta Patarino, in vico Giglio 5. His father Domenico is a 26-year-old carpenter originally from Palo del Colle (another agricultural center in the province of Bari, about 40 kilometers from Gioia del Colle). Being the first son of the couple, Silvestro inherits the name from his paternal grandfather Silvestro (1815-1865).
On Monday 15 November 1909, grandfather Silvestro Stallone marries Pulcheria Nicastri in Gioia del Colle. Silvestro is a 26-year-old barber, while Pulcheria is a 19-year-old housewife, also a native of Gioia del Colle.
In Gioia del Colle, the couple had numerous children, including the second son Francesco Frank Stallone (1919-2011, Sylvester’s father), before emigrating to the United States between 1930 and 1932, as described above.
Silvestro Stallone died in Silver Spring (Maryland) on Sunday August 4, 1963 at the age of 69.
The great-grandfather: Domenico Stallone (1857-1936)
Domenico Stallone was born on Monday 13 July 1857 in Palo del Colle, an agricultural center in the province of Bari, in the house of his parents Silvestro Stallone and Pasqua Guida, in strada del Lago. His father Silvestro is a 42-year-old farmer.
In July 1865, at the age of eight Domenico lost both his parents, who died within two weeks due to a cholera epidemic.
On Saturday 7 April 1883, Domenico Stallone marries Maria Giuditta Patarino, a 21-year-old spinner from Gioia in Gioia del Colle. Domenico is 25 years old and is a carpenter in that of Gioia: however, we do not know if he moved from Palo to Gioia to get married or if he already lived there, perhaps having moved following the premature death of his parents in 1865. What we do know is that after only seven months, the couple’s first child was born, Sylvester Stallone (1883-1963, Sylvester’s grandfather): premature birth or hasty marriage following pregnancy? Among the curiosities we note that the spouses know how to read and write, as the marriage certificate: something not for everyone, given that illiteracy rates at the time were extremely high, especially in the countryside of southern Italy.
A curiosity related to the Patarinos: Giuditta’s father is called Gaudenzio Patarino, a farmer born in Gioia del Colle in 1824. His name is passed on to Gaudenzio Stallone (1885-1974), second son of Domenico and Maria Giuditta, and derives from him the middle name of Sylvester “Enzio” Stallone, our Sly.
Domenico Stallone died in Gioia del Colle on Thursday 30 July 1936, at his home in vico secondo Candeloro, at the age of 79. A few years earlier he had said goodbye to his son Silvestro and grandchildren, including Francesco “Frank”, who emigrated to the United States in search of a better life.
The great-great-grandfather: Sylvester Stallone (1815-1865)
Silvestro Nicolò Donato Stallone was born on Thursday 17 August 1815 in Palo del Colle, in the house of his parents Nicolò Antonio Stallone and Pasqua Paris, in vico Silecchia 1 (today vico Garibaldi, a stone’s throw from the main church). His father is a 41-year-old farmer who died only two years later, leaving little Silvestro an orphan. The parents had been married for several years, but being the first son born after numerous girls, great-great-grandfather Silvestro is named in honor of his paternal grandfather Silvestro (1742-?).
On Saturday 28 April 1838 Silvestro Stallone marries Pasqua Guida (1822-1865) in Palo del Colle. The groom is 21, the bride is only 15, and they are both farmers.
On Friday July 7, 1865, Silvestro Stallone dies at the age of 49, followed two weeks later by his wife (July 19) by his wife Pasqua. These premature deaths are almost certainly due to the umpteenth cholera epidemic that is spreading throughout the Italian peninsula, claiming numerous victims. The two leave several children orphaned, including great-grandfather Domenico.
The great-great-great-grandfather: Nicolò Antonio Stallone (1773-1817)
Nicolò Antonio Paolo Vincenzo Donato Stallone was born in Palo del Colle on Wednesday 30 June 1773, son of Silvestro Stallone and Anna Maria Selvaggio, farmers. His parents had been married for a couple of years, and Nicolò Antonio is the couple’s first child. He therefore inherited the name from his paternal grandfather Nicola Antonio Stallone (c. 1695 – ?).
In the last years of the eighteenth century Nicolò Stallone married Pasqua Paris, with whom he had several children including Silvestro (1815-1865, Sylvester’s great-great-grandfather), born in 1815.
Only two years after Silvestro’s birth, on Sunday 1 June 1817 Nicolò Stallone died at his home in vico Silecchia, at the age of only 43.
The great-great-great-great-grandfather: Sylvester Stallone (1742-?)
And here we are almost at the end of this long journey, we meet another Sylvester Stallone, the great-great-grandfather (grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather) of the same name as Sly. This is the first Stallion to bear this name which will be passed on for centuries and generations crossing the oceans up to our Sylvester.
Silvestro Vincenzo Donato Stallone was born in Palo del Colle on Tuesday 6 March 1742, the son of Nicola Antonio, a 45-year-old farmer, and his second wife Maria Centrone, just twenty years old. Silvestro is the first child of the couple and inherits the name from his maternal grandfather Silvestro Centrone, father of Maria.
On Monday 7 January 1771 Silvestro Stallone marries Anna Maria Selvaggio (1752-?) in Palo del Colle. The groom is 28 years old, the bride 18, ten years younger. The couple had several children, including the eldest son Nicolò Antonio (1773-1817, Sylvester’s great-great-great-grandfather).
We do not know the date of Silvestro’s death, which almost certainly took place in Palo del Colle.
The great-great-great-great-great-grandfather: Nicola Antonio Stallone (1695 c.-?)
Here we are with Sylvester’s last ancestors of whom we have found traces: we are talking about Nicola Antonio Stallone, born in Palo del Colle at the end of the seventeenth century (about 1695), and his father Geronimo. It should be noted, not having done so up to now, that the surname Stallone is widely spread in Palo del Colle, and it was already so in those remote times. Therefore, wanting to continue the search in the parish archive of the Apulian town, other generations of Stallone could be found.
Nicola Antonio marries Rosa Vulpis in his first marriage, with whom he has some children. Having become a widower, Nicola Antonio Stallone remarried around 1741 with Maria Centrone, with whom he will have other children, including the eldest son Silvestro Stallone (born in 1742, Sylvester’s ancestor).
For this family we have been able to find a splendid document, a vivid testimony of the time, the so-called onciario register of the Kingdom of Naples, drawn up around 1750. At the time Nicolantonio Stallone was a bracelet (bracciante, farmer) over fifty years old. He lives with his wife Maria Centrone and their two sons Silvestro (the homonymous ancestor of Sylvester) and the newborn Onofrio in a house they own located in strada Santa Maria dei Martiri , adjacent to the house of his father-in-law Silvestro Centrone. Nicola Antonio owns some land in the surrounding countryside, “sixty orders of vines and twelve orders of lands planted with almonds”.
Also for Nicola Antonio we do not know the date of death.
Here we are at the end of this journey which lasted over three centuries and which saw us explore numerous generations of ancestors of the great Sylvester Stallone, an American legend and Apulian pride as well. In particular, it was exciting to discover how the same name can cross centuries and generations, and be transmitted for such a long time.
Who knows if in Palo del Colle back in 1750 when little Silvestro Stallone left his house in Santa Maria dei Martiri street he went to play with other urchins like him in fights and battles… We certainly did it, imagining at least one childhood time to be Rocky Balboa, John Rambo, or simply Sylvester Stallone!
Would you also like to reconstruct the history of your family? Find how:
– Atto di nascita di Francesco Stallone (1919). FamilySearch, Stato civile di Gioia del Colle, Nati, 1919, atto 409
– Lista dei passeggeri del transatlantico Saturnia sbarcati a New York il 27 ottobre 1932. FamilySearch, New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957,, 5251 – vol 11323-11324, Oct 27, 1932
– Atto di nascita di Silvestro Stallone (1883). Antenati, Stato civile di Gioia del Colle, Nati, 1883, atto 734
– Atto di matrimonio di Silvestro Stallone e Pulcheria Nicastri (1909). FamilySearch, Stato civile di Gioia del Colle, Matrimoni, 1909, atto 134
– Atto di nascita di Domenico Stallone (1857). Antenati, Stato civile di Palo del Colle, Nati, 1857, atto 205
– Atto di matrimonio di Domenico Stallone e Maria Giuditta Patarino (1883). Antenati, Stato civile di Gioia del Colle, Matrimoni, 1883, atto 58
– Atto di morte di Domenico Stallone (1936). Antenati, Stato civile di Gioia del Colle, Morti, 1936, atto 203
– Atto di nascita di Silvestro Stallone (1815). Antenati, Stato civile di Palo del Colle, Nati, 1857, atto senza numero
– Atto di battesimo di Nicola Antonio Stallone (1773). Archivio parrocchiale di Santa Maria La Porta di Palo del Colle, Battesimi, 1773, atto senza numero
– Atto di morte di Nicolò Antonio Stallone (1817). Antenati, Stato civile di Palo del Colle, Morti, 1817, atto senza numero
– Atto di battesimo di Silvestro Stallone (1742). Archivio parrocchiale di Santa Maria La Porta di Palo del Colle, Battesimi, 1742, atto senza numero
– Atto di matrimonio di Silvestro Stallone e Anna Maria Selvaggio (1771). Archivio parrocchiale di Santa Maria La Porta di Palo del Colle, Matrimoni, 1771, atto senza numero
– Catasto onciario di Nicolantonio Stallone e Maria Centrone (1750 circa). Archivio di Stato di Bari, Catasto onciario di Palo del Colle, fuoco 537
If you liked this story, don’t hesitate to share it on social networks by clicking on the facebook or twitter symbols below 🙂