This famous Italian surname is one of the earliest recorded. It is found in many forms including Uccello, Ucceli, Uccelli, Ulcelli, Uzelli, Uzielli, Uccelletti, Augello, Ausiello, Ausiello, and short forms such as Celli, Cello, and Celloni. However spelt all originally derive from the word "uccello" meaning a bird. This suggests that the name was originally a nickname of endearment or description. The word and hence the name, appears regularly in popular medieval phrases such as "uccello vecchio" meaning "the (wise) old bird", or "uccello de bosco" meaning "bird of the forest". This latter expression was a play on words, suggesting that the nameholder was a skilful or crafty person. The famous book on Italian surnames by Joseph Fucilla, makes an additional suggestion that the name may have early Christian and religious connotations, possibly associated with the Holy Spirit. He claims that the "bird" represents the passage of the soul to paradise, however no explanation is given for this hypothesis. What is certain is that the surname is one of the very earliest hereditary surnames ever recorded in Italy, where hereditary fixed spellings were rare until several centuries later. These early recordings all from Firenze, include Donato and Antonia Uccello, apparently a brother and sister, christened there in the years 1453 and 1456, whilst the first known of all recordings is probably that of Paolo di Dono Uccello. He is recorded as marrying Antonia de Giovanni Castelli del Beccuto, also at the city of Firenze in the year 1397.
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