Torlonia

From Academic Kids

The princes Torlonia are a Roman family, with origins in a huge fortune gained during the 18th and 19th century by the administration of the finances of the Vatican.

The first important member with influence was Marino Torlonia (Tourlonias) (born in Angerolles 1725 + Roma 21-3-1785), a very rich businessman and banker, and father of Giovanni Torlonia, who in return for the administration of the Vatican finances with the blessing of the Pope was created in 1794 duke of Bracciano and count of Pisciarelli; in 1803 marquis of Romavecchia e Turrita; and 1st Prince of Civitella Cesi (Princeps Romanus); he was created Patrizio Romano in 1809 (with confirmation of the Pope the 19-1-1813) and duke of Poli e Guadagnolo in 1820, among other titles. He was the builder of the Villa Torlonia at Rome among other Torlonia villas.

In 1907, his grandson Don Marino Torlonia (Born in Poli 29-7-1861 + Roma 5-3-1933), 3 Principe di Civitella Cesi e Nobile Romano married the aristocratic American Mary Elsie Moore (*born New York 22-10-1889 + Roma 21-12-1941) and they were the parents of Don Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince di Civitella-Cessi(* Roma 7-2-1911 + Roma 11-5-1986), who married to the Infant of Spain Beatriz de Borbon-Battenberg, the daughter of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and also the parents of the princess Donna Marina Torlonia di Civitella-Cessi, wife of the American tennis player Francis Xavier Shields and grandmother of the well known American actress Brooke Shields. Also are famous in Rome the Torlonia's properties, like Palazzo Torlonia in Via Condoti near Piazza di Spagna and the beautiful gardens of the Villa Torlonia, now part of Rome's public park system.

The Torlonia family are one of the few Italian aristocratic families to have survived the reconstruction of the Papal court of 1969 by the bull 'Pontificalis Domus'. Unlike many members of the Italian aristocracy the Torlonia family were 18th century converts from Judaism.

Today the only hereditary honours still in use at the Vatican are that of "Hereditary Prince Assistants" to the Papal Throne. This honour is today held by Prince Don Alessandro Torlonia, and Prince Don Marcantonio Colonna, Prince and Duke of Paliano.

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