Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Origin of Massarella

Massarella (founded 998)

I have discovered that our surname, Massarella, originally came from a small town in Tuscany (half way between Florence and Pisa) founded in 998. Originally, it was called Massa-Pescatoria, but was soon changed to Massarella. The town is situated on the south west edges of a lake and marshland area called Padule of Fucecchio which is the largest internal marshland in Italy and is a protected nature preserve that boasts one of the top bird watching areas in Europe. The Massarella Seal is a blue shield with two dolphins.

Each year there is a big horse race in the province (Fucecchio) which Massarella is located in and which they compete in. The race is called the Palio delle Contrade di Fucecchio. There is another Palio (horse race) that takes place each year in Sienna, also in Tuscany. It is world famous. The events are rooted in the chariot races of ancient Rome. Like in Sienna, each town of Fucecchio has its own flag which they carry to and display at the race each year. I am extremely fortunate to have one! Click the photo of the Massarella horse to see more Massarella race photos.

Each contrada, or village, in the Fucecchio province has its own flag. This is an actual flag from the village of Massarella. A very good friend of ours visited Massarella while she was on vacation in Tuscany and found a very kind woman who gave this flag to her. She continued the kindness by shipping to me! It now hangs proudly on our living room wall in Plano, TX. Click on the flag for a direct link to a page on Massarella that gives some details and history on the town (in Italian).

No comments: