This is a famous Italian surname of nobility. Historically it was much associated in the early 19th century with the creation of Italy as a nation-state, finally accomplished by Garribaldi in 1860. The surname means a flag or battle standard, although that can also be Confalone or Stendardo. In any case it is one of a group of medieval surnames that originate from weapons, armour & associated equipment. Where there can be several explanations for the origin of a surname, this is sometimes confirmed by the blazon of the coat of arms, and certainly is in this case. The blazon is a gold field, charged with a red castle, surmounted by a red and white flag, which we believe is the flag of the ancient state of Lombardy. In the Napoleonic period (1795 - 1815) the Baron Bandiera had two sons Attilio and Emilio born in circa 1811. In the 1830''s they lead a number of attempts to promote the national unity vision - by military force, - but failed. In the end they were captured and shot, and at least one painting exists of this morbid event in 1840. Today the Bandiera Rossa meaning Red Flag, is a far left revolutionary movement associated with the Italian Communist Party. If the brothers Bandiera were premature, it would seem that the Bandiera Rossa are currently well behind the times! One of the major difficulties with almost all Italian surnames is that except for some heraldic records, national administration of registers of births, deaths, and marriages in Italy rarely existed on a national basis before 1890. One recording we did find was in Palermo, being that of Andrea Bandiera and his wife Franchesca (Romano), at the baptism of their daughter Angela, - on April 14th 1820.
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