Mechant family of florence, prominent from the 13th to the 20th century, ennobled in 1629 by Pope urban viii. St. andrew of fiesole (d. 1373), a Carmelite, who became bishop of Fiesole, and Lorenzo Corsini, who became Pope clement xii (1730–40), were important religious figures in the family.
There were four Corsini cardinals (the first date given being that of their cardinalate). Pietro (1370), d. Avignon, 1405, a cousin of Andrew, served as bishop of Volterra (1362), of Florence (1363), and then of Porto (1374). A legate to Emperor Charles IV (1364), he received the title Prince of the Empire (1371). He wrote a tract on urban vi and the western schism. Neri (1664),d. Florence, 1678, served as nuncio to France and in the papal camera before he was cardinal. Neri (1730), d. Rome, 1770, was the representative of Cosimo III de' Medici of Florence at The Hague, London, and Paris. After Cosimo's death (1723), Neri joined his uncle, Cardinal Lorenzo, who became Pope Clement XII, in Rome. About 1729 Neri bought the Riario palace, rebuilt it, and began adding to the books that his great-uncle, the first Cardinal Neri, and his uncle, the pope, had collected. In 1754 the library was opened to the public. In 1884 the family sold the palace to the Italian government and gave the library to the state. It is still housed in the Corsini palace in Rome. Andrea (1759), d. Rome, 1795, nephew of the younger Cardinal Neri, was interested in jansenism and opposed the jesuits.
Lay members of the family have held many offices in the government of Florence since the 14th century. Their early residence was in the district of Santo Spirito and Santa Maria del Carmine. The present palace on Lung'Arno Corsini was built in the 17th century.
Bibliography: l. passerini, Genealogia e storia della famiglia Corsini (Florence 1858). g. moroni, Dizionario de erudizione storico-ecclesiastica, 103 v. in 53 (Venice 1840–61) 17:278–287. Acta Sanctorum 3 (Jan. 1863) 676–692. l. c. Àllari, I palazzi di Roma (3d ed. Rome 1944) 425–428. p. o. smeraglio, "I C. a Roma e le origini della Biblioteca Corsiniana," Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, ser. 8, 8.4 (1958) 291–331.
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