The Gherardinis

Mona Lisa Gherardini
The Keatings sprang from a house whose beginnings, so say the legends, go back to the days of /troy. Definite records take us back well over a thousand years, and suppose that the family was indigenous to Italy, being either E/truscan or Roman. The Gherardini, the Ancestral family of the Keatings, Fitzgeralds, Fitzmaurices, Redmonds, Carews, and many other prominent Irish families, were one of the seigniorial families that fell when the Republic of Florence was founded.

Its members had estates in various parts of the Florentine territory. In Florence, their principal residence was near the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Their tower still exists, being part of the Palazzo Bartolomei.
The first date we have in the family history is 910 A.D. when one Raniero (Rainier?) was living. The Italian historian Gammurini, says "the Gherardi were among the most ancient and wealthy families of Tuscany in 900 A.D." Family legend states that Anaes, a survivor of the siege of /troy, wandered for seven years after it’s overthrow, until he came to what was then called Latium, (now Italy). He brought with him his father and small son Ascanius, for whom the province of Tuscany is named. Anaes married the daughter of King Turnus of Latium, who was killed in battle. Anaes succeeded him as king of Latium and divided his lands among his descendants. To Gherardo, he gave the land of He/truria, where Florence now stands.

The family flourished until the year 1125. Then, during a political upheaval, the patrician families were driven into exile. In order to remain in Florence, the Gherardini renounced their patrician rank and became mere citizens. Later they were restored to their ancient honors, became very wealthy, and served the Republic of Florence both in the senate and on the battlefield. Three were Consuls of the Republic; others died as leaders of the Republican armies in the many civil wars. Confiscations and losses during the civil wars impoverished the Gherardini, and they also suffered much by the des/truction of their property in the great fire of Florence in 1303. From the 14th century onwards they seem to have played a smaller part in the history of Florence. At different times, between 1000 and 1400, individuals of the family emigrated, passing into France, England, Wales, Ireland, Cracow and the Canary Islands. Those who stayed in Florence became extinct, as did those in France and Cracow. It is pleasant to record that the Gherardini of Florence and the Irish "Geraldines" did not lose touch with each other. There are records of visits back and forth until the late 1500's.
The Gherardinis
Otho
Gerald de Windsor
Nesta
William FitzGerald de Windsor
Origin of the Keating Name
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