Sozzini family

Memorial for Lelio Sozini and Fausto Sozzini in the Sozini Palace in Siena.

Sozzini, Sozini, Socini or Socin is an Italian noble family originally from Siena in Tuscany, where the family were noted as bankers and merchants, jurists and humanist scholars. The family has been described as "the most famous legal dynasty of the Renaissance."[1]

Mariano Sozzini

The family in Italy includes the jurist Mariano Sozzini, his sons including Celso, Cornelio, Camillo and the theologian Lelio Sozzini and his nephew Fausto Sozzini, for whom Socinianism is named.

Basel branch

A branch of the Sozzini family left Siena around 1413 during the Guelphs and Ghibellines disputes, and settled in Bellinzona, then a subject of Milan. The Sozzini family was banished from Bellinzona in 1555 as part of a group of around 150 Protestants, after they declined to return to Catholicism, and came as religious refugees to Basel.[2]

Coat of arms

In Basel, the family eventually started using the spelling Socin and became wealthy merchants, notably in the paper industry and as printers, and one of the most highly regarded patrician families of Basel from the 16th century. Family members served as Mayor and members of the Grand Council, as diplomats, judges and other officials.[3] While resident in Bellinzona in 1551, the family received a confirmation of nobility from the Holy Roman Emperor.[4]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms, a black lion ramping in a white field, with a red ball close to the uplifted claw, is known since the early 14th century when it was used by the notary Ser Mino Sozzi (died 1340).[5]


  1. Paul F. Grendler, "Siena and the Sozzini," in The Universities of the Italian Renaissance, JHU Press, 2011, ISBN 1421404230, p. 461
  3. Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens: AGB, Walter de Gruyter, 1999, p. 337
  4. Markus Lutz, Baslerisches Bürger-Buch: Enthaltend alle gegenwärtig in der Stadt Basel eingebürgte Geschlechter, nebst der Anzeige ihres Ursprungs, Bürgerrechts-Aufnahme, so wie ihrer ersten Ansiedler und beachtenswerthen Personen, welche aus denselben zum Dienste des Staats, der Kirche und der Wissenschaften, hervorgegangen sind: nach alphabetischer Ordnung mit eingestreuten historischen Notizen und lythographischen Wappen-Tafeln, 1819, p. 308.
  5. The Theological Review Vol. 16 p. 297, 1879
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