The Early Cavaletto Family


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[Family Group Record]

Cavaletto Hotel Bedroom
Cavaletto Hotel Bedroom

The Cavaletto family was well known and very active in the business and financial affairs of 13th-16th-century Venice, Italy. Some believe the family produced at least three Cardinals during that period. Hotel Cavaletto, pictured to the right opened in 1308, is one of the most ancient hotels in Italy. For seven centuries the hotel attested to the family's presence in 14th century Venice. Best Western now manages the  5-story hotel. It overlooks the Orseolo canal near St. Marks Square. It was completely restructured in 1800, with the creation of the Bacino Orseolo, where the windows of the rooms now overlook.

Italian Summer in Tuscany and SorrentoIn the 18th century, two Cavaletto brothers, a retired army colonel and a retired civil engineer, came from Venice to Rivarolo Canavese, in northern Italy. They laid out and founded the suburb town of Vesignano, a small village just next to Rivarolo. The pronunciation of the name of this village in the Piedmontese dialect is something like Ves-nyang. It is from this neighborhood of Rivarolo Canavese that our branches of the Cavaletto family migrated to the Americas.

In the old days, tells Tere Osés, besides the common village festivities the Cavalettos established their own celebration in February, on the day of Saint Aventino, whose image can be seen in Vesignano church. The story goes that the Cavalettos traditionally suffered from headaches and had found a protector in this saint. So, every year the whole family would gather at a generous table, with plenty of food and wine, after having prayed for the saint's help to cure them from their migraines. Whether this tradition was one kept by all the Cavaletto clan or only the Defendente and Teresina family, is unknown (Osés 2003).

Giuseppe Cavaletto

The earliest known family member is Giuseppe Cavaletto (b. ca. 1800). A son of Giuseppe Cavaletto was Marco Cavaletto.

Marco Cavaletto and Maria Canavotto

Marco Cavaletto (b. ca 1820) married Maria Canavotto (a daughter of Bartolomeo Canavotto). Marco and his wife presumably lived and died in the Kingdom of Savoy. The father of Maddalena Canavotto was also Bartolomeo Canavotto. Both girls seem to have been born in the 1820s. This appears to be the connecting link between the Spring Valley Cavaletto family and the Santa Barbara Caval(l)etto family. Maddalena was the mother of Laura Cavaletto. This explains the oral tradition that the cousins of the Spring Valley Cavalettos settled in Santa Barbara. The proof of this proposition should lie in the baptismal records. Of the children of Marco and Maria we know of Giovanni Battista Cavaletto, the old settler of this family in Illinois and three sisters Angelina, Monica, and Caterina.

Page last updated: 04/21/03 05:51 AM.

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