The Cesarini family: 200 years in Panicale

In the parish registers of the old Town Hall in Panicale there is an entry dated February 4th 1807, signed by Luigi Brami, then the parish priest.
The document confirms the marriage between “Mr. Cesare, son of the late Mr. Gianbattista Cesarini, belonging to the La Strada parish and a resident of Vajano” and “the honest maiden Mrs. Luisa, daughter of Mr. Stefano Fabbri, my parishioner”.
The oldest known family picture from about 1865. Sitting in the middle is mother Angela Mancini, widow after Francesco Cesarini, Cesare's son. In front of her stands my great-grand father landowner Decio (1859-1934).
On the left side of Angela you can see Alceste (1858-1911), who had a special interest in Greek mythology; all his children had greek names! On the right side Pietro (1857-1942), also landowner. Behind from the left , Omero (1846-1905), poet, and Ettore (1843-1912) head of the Cittá della Pieve-branch.
The declaration is not only a marriage certificate but also a document testifying the first appearance of the Cesarini family in Panicale in Via Ceppari 37. This year we can therefore celebrate a 200-year-long jubilee of the event.
But both the family and its surname have a tradition going much further back in time. In Vaiano, Cesare’s birth place, the nucleus of the family, lives there still today, and according to the parish register dates back to 1628, when Paolo Cesarini (1628-1711) was born. In the beginning of the 19th century, this branch gave origin to three more branches, which spread over Villastrada, Tavernelle and Panicale.
I have personally had the privilege of meeting some of the members of these branches. “Uncle” Pasquale (1898-1992), an agronomist, lived in Vaiano in the old family house. Of the Tavernelle branch I remember “Uncle” Bruno (1912-2000), a surgeon, who practised medicine in Borgo S. Lorenzo near Florence.

This picture was taken by the Perugia photographer around 1906. From the left: Decio (1859-1934), Fernanda (1903-1935), Cesare (1891-1928), Pio (1893-1960), Elena (1865-1933) and Mariorenato (1894-1915).
In spite of this 200-year-long division, I  always felt that there were family ties among the different branches. It was therefore natural for me to call the Cesarinis  from Vaiano and Tavernelle  “uncles” in spite of the fact that sometimes you had to go back eight generations in order to find some common ancestors.
The year is 1925. In the focus is my uncle Mariorenato (1924-1997).
Standing from the left my grandmothers sister Lola Ximenes (?-1953), my great-grandfather Decio (1858-1933), his brother Pietro (1857-1942), my uncle Mariorenato, my grandmother Andreina Ximenes Cesarini (1889-1984), her father Francesco Ximenes (1857-1925), my grandfather Pio (1894-1960). Sitting from the left side: my grandmothers mother Guendalina Bianchi Ximenes (1858-1951), my grandfathers sister Fernanda (1903 -1935) and my great-grandfather Elena Ascanio (1865-1933).

In Panicale the relatives were much closer. I remember particularly my father’s brother, uncle Mariorenato, a lawyer (1924-1997) and aunt Emilia (1919-2006), daughter of my grandfather’s cousin
.The name Cesarini has very old origins. It was known in the 14th century, when the oldest Cesarini family, of Roman origin, attained power and acquired positions of both cardinals and feudal lords. It moved during the Renaissance to Civitanova in the Marche region, where the marquis Giuliano I Cesarini (+1565) was conferred the title of Standard-Bearer of the Roman People. According to genealogical data, the family name became extinct in 1711, when the only surviving female Livia (1650-1711) married Federico Sforza and thus formed the still existing Sforza-Cesarini branch.
An essential question is therefore if there is any connection between the oldest and the present Cesarini family.

My grandfather Pio Cesarini (1893-1960), prominent agronomist and general

Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini (1398-1444), chairman at the Council of Basel
My grandfather Pio (1893-1960), a general in the Umbrian Forestry Department, devoted much of his free time to genealogy and discovered that Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini (1398-1444), president of the Basilea Council and represented in the Uffizi portrait gallery, often travelled to Umbria, where he had acquired land, which more or less corresponded with the properties which were owned in recent times by the Cesarini family. Among other things he noted that “…for territorial reasons,  the old and present economic and social position of the different branches of the Umbrian family give well founded ground to believe that the present family is more or less linked to the oldest branch.”
Even if we do not yet have concrete testimonies showing a link between the oldest Cesarini family and the later one, there is sufficient ground for speculation that such a link exists.

In 1624, cardinal Alexander Cesarini (1592-1644) was appointed “protector of the Panicale Region”. What this task involved we do not know, but  fact is that in the parish register in Vaiano (situated less than 10 kms from Panicale) there was a birth dated 1628 of a certain Paolo Cesarini without any information about his parents. But how come that this family owned more or less the same properties as these which once belonged to Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini?

One thing is certain. The presence in Umbria of the Cesarini family is supported by documentary evidence: they have lived in Umbria during several centuries and in Panicale for 200 years. This should be enough to include the Cesarini family among the old Panicale families.

Cardinal Alexander Cesarini (1592-1644) was proclaimed in 1624 ”protector of the Panicale Region”.

Today, the different members are spread around the world for family and work reasons. But many have still left their roots in the old town, where they return often and happily. One of these is my mother, Gun Lundborg Cesarini, of Swedish origin, but a Cesarini since more than half a century. Together with her late husband, my father, Giuliano Cesarini (1926-1995) they restored the old family house, which is the same as the first Cesarini lived in 1807. This is now a home for the whole Giuliano Cesarini family whenever they return to Panicale. In fact every November my mother Gun is there to organize and take part in the olive picking by hand, exactly as it was practised by the old Etruscans and Romans 2000 years ago.

Nonna Gun – now the head of the family  - celebrates her 75th birthday in Cyprus.  In this group photo are gathered all the latest Cesarini, without little Adrian who escaped...
In the picture you can also se my mothers brother Lennart Lundborg and my wife Lisa with little Chiara, defintely the latest Cesarini!
The Coat of Arms

The Cesarini arms in the old family house at Via Ceppari 37
The Cesarini arms are composed of a bear tied to a column, on top of which there is an eagle. The bear is part of the oldest arms used by the family. One of the first known members of the family during the 14th century was named Orso, i.e. Bear.

Around 1430, a column was added to the coat of arms, around which a rope was twisted to tie the bear. The column was a recognition of Pope Martin V Colonna. A century later an eagle was placed on top of the column, perhaps a reward granted by Emperor Charles V when Giuliano Cesarini, in his quality of Standard-Bearer of the Roman People, was present at the Emperor’s coronation in Bologna.

Listen even to the radio program (in Swedish!):
            P1 släktband 20th of Februari 2006

or view the
        marriage certificate from 1807



© Birgittiana-2007-10. All rights reserved