The Morelli family was one of the most distinguished of Florence, the foremost city of Italy during medieval days. Originally the family was located in the old province of Romagna in the northeast of Italy. Traditionally it is said to have come to Italy with Charlemagne, the great King of the Franks, during the 8th century. The family is believed to have settled in Florence early in the 15th century where it became one of the great merchant families. Branches of the family were soon established in Turin, Perugia, and Taranto. The Coat-of-Arms for the Turin branch of the Morelli family is shown above. It was hand painted for Dennis Morelli in 1964 by a heraldic artist from Oakland, California and features a red shield upon which are two golden fore-legs of a lion, crossed diagonally. In the upper part of the shield is a golden chess-piece known as a rook which is often mistaken for a coronet. A much older painting of the Morelli coat of arms (circa 1500) can be seen by viewing the special photograph attached to Pietro Morelli.
In 1439 the family was honored with the title of Count Palatine by the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire when he attended the Council of Florence in an effort to reconcile the Roman and Greek churches; the title was later confirmed by Pope Leo X (1513-1521).
This web page identifies the descendants of Pietro Morelli, birthplace unknown, whose son, Donato, moved with his wife and children to Lierna, Italy in about 1750. Lierna is a small town located on the eastern shore of Lake Como, about 15 Km (9 miles) north of Lecco. One of Donato's great great grandsons (Joseph Barnaba Jr.) married a member of the Vanoni family from Aurigeno, Switzerland. As a consequence, the genealogy of the Vanoni family is also included on this site. Tha Vanoni Family Coat-of-Arms shown above can be found painted in Capellas and on the sides of houses in Aurigeno, Switzerland where the Vanoni family has lived for more than 300 years.
You will need a fast internet connection to view the charts and listen to the sound clips. The two Vanoni charts show the descendants of two distinct branches of the family, Antonio Vanoni and Tommaso Vanoni. Both were both born about 1685, and they were probably cousins. The charts are not updated as often as the database, so some names found in the database may be missing from the charts.
Sound Clips & Special Photographs
This web site contains several sound clips and special images that you can hear and see if you have Quicktime installed on your computer. The presence of a sound clip or special photo is indicated by a small camera icon to the right of a person's name. To hear the sound clips or view the special photos associated with Bridget Rose Albini, Amadeo Berguglia, Franco Berguglia, Dennis Wayne Morelli, Giovanni Battista Morelli, John B. Morelli, Joseph Morelli Sr., Joseph Morelli Jr., Celestina Pozzi, Franca Carmen Spadini, Erminia Olinda Vanoni, Giovanni Antonio Vanoni (the painter), or Tommaso Vanoni (born 1685), go to the index and click on their name to bring up their web card. Then click on the little camera icon.
Additional anecdotal notes, if any, can be viewed by clicking on a person's underlined name. A typical example can be seen by clicking on the name Joseph B. Morelli, Sr., then scrolling down the page until the notes are visible.
Many of the 2800 entries on this web site are related by blood to Dennis W. Morelli, the site's creator. The author wishes to thank Lara Ottolini (Aurigeno, Switzerland), Denyse Bertoni (Muzzano, Switzerland), and Fabien Giulianotti (Paris, France) for their considerable efforts in tracing the genealogy of the Vanoni family and for allowing me to use their findings on this website. My thanks also to Kathy Tickner (Santa Rosa, California and to Stefano Landini from Aulla, Italy for tracing the Rossi family line. I specially want to thank Franca Panizza from Lierna, Italy, for the wonderful work she did in tracing the Morelli family ancestry. Information about each of these contributors can be found by clicking on their name in the index. If you wish to add or correct any information, or to just offer comments, please contact the author by email at the address below.