Legend of the Grifeo
Legend tells of the origin of the name and the coat of arms of the noble family of the Grifeo di Partanna.
According to legend, the family would have Byzantine origins. The family is believed to descend from Leo Phocas, son of the Byzantine general Bardas Phocas.
There are two stories about the origin of the name Grifeo. The first tells of the deeds of Leo Foca who allegedly defeated in battle a Bulgarian leader named "Graffeo", an older form of "Grifeo". Following this victory he would adopt the sign with the griffin from which the nickname Grifeo would derive.
A second story tells that Leone Foca, who arrived in Sicily with the army of the Grand Count, killed a griffin that infested the countryside around Partanna. Following this valiant and much appreciated gesture, he decided to introduce the griffin in the family crest and therefore assume the nickname Grifeo.