araldica di firenze: the ginori


Family: Ginori Dates to: 1304 Meaningful shapes, colors and symbols: Three blue stars on a gold band over a blue background Where to find it: Palazzo Ginori on via de' Ginori

Though the Ginori are clearly an old Florentine family, their story is not dominated by the politics of the city like many other famous families in this series.  That is not to say the the Ginori were not involved in politics, though.  Early in their history, in 1419, the family hosted Pope John XXIII, the antipope who came to Florence in 1419 to end the schism in the Catholic Church.

In addition to this, Carlo Ginori (probably the most famous of the Ginori) was an ambassador at the court of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.  This is significant because Francis I became Grand Duke of Tuscany after the Medici failed to produce an heir to the dutchy.  Carlo's role helped smooth the transition of Tuscany from the Medici to the Lorraine.

But for all of Carlo's success in poltics, perhaps his most interesting - and lasting - effects on his family and Florence were his entrepuneral ventures.  In particular, in the mid-1700s, Carlo purchased unused land, dug canals and drained the stagnant water fromthe fields, set up homes, and divided the area into farms.  Furthermore, Carlo opened a porcelin factory in in 1740 that featured homes for the workers, similar to those at created at the New Lanark Mills in Scotland in 1786.

Carlo died in 1757, having been a senator since age 32, an ambassador an entrepuner and a Marquis.  Though Carlo died perhaps before his "time" he nevertheless started a business that his family would continue and improve upon, eventually producing porcelin in relief and of multiple colors at an early time.

Perhaps the final interesting piece of information about the Ginori is also now the most public.  Bartholomew Ginori, a soldier who fought in the war against Sienna and also under King Phillip II of Spain, was used as the model for the statue the Rape of the Sabine Women. Bartholomew is the standing man, holding the Roman woman.  So, the next time you are in the Loggia dei Lanzi, where the statue is currently located, you'll be able to see one of the Ginori even today.