Dating back to at least the late Middle Ages, we first see this surname documented in Malta on the Militia Roster of 1417. Bonavia is almost certainly an amalgamation of the Italian phrase buona via, meaning “the right way”.
There are two commonly known coats of arms that traditionally represent the Bonavia family, with this version boasting a gryphon in or (gold/yellow). Gryphons in heraldry combine the best traits of lions and eagles, namely courage and boldness. The other version showcases three azure (blue) mullet-of-six-points (stars) over an argent (white) bend dexter, and a solitary comet in or. Both shields are shown over an azure field.