Believe in tomorrow, work hard, and take risks when the market calls for enterprise: the Corsini family has successfully followed this purely Florentine creed since they arrived in the city of Poggibonsi in Tuscany at the end of the 1100s. First merchants and then bankers, they were also often influential politicians and churchmen.
Andrea Corsini (born in Florence in 1302 and died in Fiesole on January 6, 1374), bishop of Fiesole in 1373, was venerated by the church three centuries after his death when he was named Sant’Andrea (Saint Andrew Corsini) in 1624; while Pietro Corsini followed as the cardinal Urbano V in exile in Avignone, supporting the return of the Pope to Rome.
At the beginning of the 1400s, the banking crisis caused by the insolvency of Edward III forced Matteo Corsini to relinquish his position in England and return to Tuscany to invest in land.
Filippo and Bartolomeo Corsini solidified the family wealth in the 1500s. They opened a bank in London and organized a private postal service so fast that it could deliver a letter to Florence in less than three days. They were responsible for building enormous real estate assets, protected through a complex legal structure in order to facilitate the process of inheritance (perhaps their time spent in Great Britain inspired them to use trusts to protect their assets).
Bartolomeo (1622-1685), son of Filippo who made money in England, with his own son Filippo (1647-1705), constructed the Palazzo Corsini along the Arno River in Florence in what is today called Florentine Baroque style, as well as one in Via del Prato. The two Florence palaces mark the family’s growing involvement in the world of art. During the first half of the century, they constructed the chapel of the Church of Carmine, dedicated to Saint Andrew Corsini; and built the Gentilizia Gallery in the Palazzo by the Arno River, where many works of art were preserved.
The family influence reach its height in 1730, when Lorenzo Corsini (1652-1740), at the time 78 years old, was made Pope Clemente XII after four months of Conclave. He would remain Pope for ten years. A patron of the arts and cultured man, he was also highly effective for his knowledge in the financial domain. He is overall remembered as the founder of the Capitolini Museums and patron of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, the new facade of the churches of San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore, the construction of the Palazzo della Consulta in Rome, and the ports in Anzio, Ravenna, and Ancona.
The Pope’s favorite nephew Bartolomeo was commander in chief of the Roman Cavalry, Viceroy of Sicily, and Grandee of Spain. In the 1800s, more and more members of the Corsini family took on a growing number of political positions and tasks before, during, and after Restoration up until the time of Tommaso Corsini. Tommaso was deputy for the Kingdom of Italy from 1865 to 1882, senator for life, founder of the insurance agency Fondiaria Assicurazioni, president of the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, and even involved in the electricity and railway industries. He was also an archaeologist on his own property and brought to light the famous Corsini fibula, a masterpiece of Etruscan jewelry-making that is today conserved in the Archaeological Museum of Florence. With an act of generosity and foresight, he donated his collection of paintings, printings, and books to the Italian government in the Palazzo della Lungara in Rome.
He also helped to establish the Accademia dei Lincei at Palazzo Corsini.
Prince Tommaso (VIII Prince of Sismano, 1903-1980), nephew of Tommaso, participated in Italian politics as deputy for the Constituent Assembly for the constitution of the Italian Republic. An expert in agriculture and farm animal breeding, he also contributed to the modernization of the sectors in Tuscany and Umbria. His wife, Donna Elena, saved the Corsini Gallery and countless artistic treasures from bombing and the front line when it passed in World War II.
Prince Tommaso’s son Filippo, IX (1937) and current Prince of Sismano, married Giorgiana Avogadro of Valdengo and Collobiano. He is the father of Duccio (1964), Duke of Casigliano and married to Clotilde Trentinaglia de Daverio with children Filippo, Elena Clarice, and Selvaggia; of Elena Sabina (1966), married to Brando Quilici with one son, Corso; Nencia (1969), married to Benedetto Bolza with children Giorgiana, Nerina, Vita, Olimpia, and Geza; Elisabetta Fiona (1969), married to Diego of San Giuliano, with children Leone, Neri (married to Zara Boatto), and Fiamma (married to Lucio of San Giuliano)..