Trentian / South Tyrolean Ancestors and all that

In order to compensate a bit for the patriarchal system, I first show a picture of my grandmother and her Pederzini relatives in her younger years:

Cavazzino (near Rovereto), Italy, 1919   Maria Aste, Cavazzim, 1919

Maria Pederzini (Aste)     /      Angela Pederzini (Giobatta)    /     Giuseppina Pederzini (Tonolli)
Anna Carpentari (Pederzini)      /     Maria, Mother of L. Pederzini     /      Luigi Pederzini
                                    Mario Pederzini
(in brackets: the surnames after marriage)

The picture above was taken in 1919 in Cavazzino near Rovereto, Italy,
in front of the mill (il molino) of Luigi.

My great-grandfather Luigi Pederzini as an Austrian soldier in World War II.
(On the back of the photo, used as a postcard: Dear most beloved family, my most beloved children...
if you include me in your prayers, and if I do so too, and if we trust in God,
so maybe we will be reunited eventually in 1917...).

I remember well Zia Angela, the aunt of my grandmother Maria and the sister of Luigi Pederzini, who died in 1986 at the age of 103 years.

The elderly lady in the center, Maria Pederzini, a grandmother of my grandmother Maria,
died in Castellano on September 25, 1925 at the age of 75 years.
She was married to Cipriano, who was already deceased at the time when the picture was taken.

Maria Aste (-Pederzini) was my italian grandmother.
During World War II, she was working in the tobacco manufactory of Rovereto in order to feed her family.

Anna Tonolli, the daughter of Giuseppina (Zia Peppina, my grandmother's sister).

The following photo was taken around 1913. The two grown-up's in the background are Luigia Festi,
the mother of my grandfather Giuseppe (the boy who puts his left hand on the shoulder of his cousin Pio);
Giuseppe's father Antonio Aste did not live anymore at that time, therefore his position was taken by
his brother Ettore.

Famiglia Aste, Italy, 1913

Shortly after the war, in 1946:

Famiglia Aste, 1946

Armando Aste     /    Franco Aste     /    Maria Aste     /    Giuseppe Aste     /    Antonio Aste

26 years later.

My father Franco migrated in 1948 to Switzerland, whereas my uncles Armando and Antonio stayed in Italy.
Armando travelled the world, where he climbed hundreds of mountains, and became quite a well-known italian alpinist.
Click here for a picture of my uncle Armando together with my father and my grandfather in 1952
at the railway station of Rovereto, when he left Italy for the first time for several months to climb the mountains of Patagonia (Argentina).

Armando Aste          Campanile Basso

One of his adventures was the first Italian ascent of the Eiger north face in 1962, together with
Pierlorenzo Acquistapace, Gildo Airoldi, Andrea Mellano, Romano Perego and Franco Solina.

On the mountain peak of the Torre Centrale del Paine, Patagonia, in 1963.

Little Genealogy

My Italian grandparents were Maria and Giuseppe (Mary and Joseph):

Giuseppe A. (Feb. 1, 1902 - May 10, 1978) -- Maria P. (Feb. 2, 1903 - June 6, 1978)
Antonio A. (Sept. 8, 1861 - Sept. 6, 1903) -- Luigia Festi
Giuseppe A. (Nov. 11, 1834 - Sept. 22, 1898) -- Giuditta Sartori (2nd wife: Anna Balter)
(G. A. was born in Aste di Vallarsa, Trento)
Antonio A. (July 29, 1796 - July 8, 1873) -- Apollonia
Giovannimaria A. (Oct. 18, 1756 - June 10, 1811) -- Maria
Giobatta A. (Nov. 17, 1734 - Dec. 3, 1796) -- Domenica
Giovannimaria A. ( March 9, 1704 - ?) -- Maria
Domenico A. (Aug. 19, 1682) -- ?
Christiano A. (Sept. 9, 1632 - Oct. 3, 1713) -- Teresa
Giovannimaria A. (1600 - ?) -- Maria
Michele A. (1570 - ?) -- ?

A bit more detailed.

My grandmother's ancestors: Arbor Pederzini.


In the South Tyrolean region, the name Aste indicates the provenance of the village Aste (in the township Vallarsa, Trent). Many Germanic farmers colonized
the region around the XIIIth century. However, there are hints that this village in Vallarsa (vallis arsa, scorched valley) existed already before in Roman times.

From the "Repertorium Archivii Episcopati Tridentini" in 1234:
"Et de eo, quod est medietas Domini Episcopi in Monte Valarsae, dominus Jacobus (de Liçana) habet ibi bexe XII masus et accipit ille dominus Jacobus ibi in Valarsa
a quolibet teutonico probanno ad minus L et C sol."
Jacobo di Lizzana established 12 German farmyards in Vallarsa at that time. Some of the german farmers preserved their German origin
for centuries in small villages and continued to use German dialects.
The Pater noster in Slambròt, the local gibberish.

65 (Italian speaking) people from 14 families lived in Aste according to a census on June 19, 1782 - a typical size for a village in the Trentino (Tridentum) at that time.

As far as the meaning of the name is concerned, there is a etymological connection of the Latin word "hasta" (the spear or lance carried by the early Roman Legionaries,
who called themselves "Hastati" in the 7th to 5th century BC) with the german word "Ast" (branch of a tree, or a hill) and the german name Astner,
deriving from the Proto-Indo-European words "ghast" (branch). A relationship with the Sanskrit "hasta" (hand) or "asti" (to be) is uncertain.
According to its Latin origin, the word "Aste" is also the Italian plural for lance or mast, and an old Austrian expression for a low lying mountain pasture, which finally
transformed into the Austrian expression "Ats, Ötz" with the same meaning.

Concerning the Austrian history of the name: Meet the minstrel Dietmar von Aste.

The widespread italian variants Dall'Asta, Dallaste, Dalleaste instead derive from the sawyers which were working of course with thin and long cut branches
(note, however, that Domenico dalle Aste from Vallarsa subscribed a certificate of heirship as a witness in 1520).
The german-italian name Astegher denotes the provenance from the region around the river Astego (also Lastego), i.e. from the Valley d'Astico (tableland of Asiago, Venice).

The family name Aste is also widespread in (the region of) Genoa, this is highly probably due to the fact that in 124 BC the Romans built a castrum, or fortified camp,
which eventually evolved into a full city named Hasta, the city and comune Asti of about 75,000 inhabitants located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy today.
People from Asti probably moved eastward after the Roman times to the Lombard, Venetian, Trentian and Austrian region.

In 89 BC the city Hasta received the status of colonia, and in 49 BC that of municipium (Hasta Pompeia).
The name "Asti" existed already before the Roman period, since the tribes of Ligures, the Statielli, dominated the area and the toponym probably derives from Ast
which means "hill" in the ancient Celtic language, as mentioned already above.
Asti became an important city of the Augustan Regio IX, favoured by its strategic position on the Tanaro river and on the Via Fulvia, which linked Derthona (Tortona) to
Augusta Taurinorum (Turin). Other roads connected the city to the main passes for what are today Switzerland and France.
The city was crucial during the early stages of the barbarian invasions which stormed Italy during the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
In early 402 AD the Visigoths had invaded northern Italy and were advancing on Mediolanum (modern Milan) which was the imperial capital at that time.
Honorius, the young emperor and a resident in that city, unable to wait for promised reinforcements any longer, was compelled to flee from Milan for safety in the city of Arles
in Gaul. However, just after his convoy had left Milan and crossed the River Po his escape route through the Alps was cut off by the Gothic cavalry.
This forced him to take emergency refuge in the city of Hasta until more Roman troops could be assembled in Italy.
The Goths placed Hasta under siege until March when General Stilicho, bringing reinforcements from the Rhine, fought and defeated them at the Battle of Pollentia.
After this first victorious defence, thanks to a massive line of walls, Hasta suffered from the barbarian invasions which stormed Italy after the fall of the Western Empire,
and declined economically.

In the second half of the 6th century it was chosen as seat for one of the 36 Duchies in which the Lombards divided Italy.
The territory of Asti comprised a wide area, stretching out to Albenga and the Maritime Alps. This remained when northern Italy was conquered by the Franks in 774,
with the title of County. In the late Carolingian age Asti was ruled directly by his bishops, who were the main landlords of the area. Most important are Audax (904-926)
and Bruningus (937-966), who moved the episcopal seat to the Castel Vecchio ("Old Castle"), where it remained until 1409. The bishopric of Asti remained a powerful
entity well into the 11th century, when Pietro II received huge privileges by emperor Henry II.

In the second half of the century, Bishop Otto von Asti tried to resist the aims of the powerful countess Adelaide of Susa, who damaged the city several times.
During Otto's reign, a commune and the consul magistrates are mentioned for the first time (1095) and make this City-State the first republic of Europe.

See a letter concerning Otto von Asti and Henry IV (after the Humiliation of Canossa).

For a further link between the name Aste and Hasta, see below ("AB HASTIS" - The Latin origin of the name Aste).

One part of the Aste family moved from Vallarsa (vallis arsia) to Rovereto (Roveredo) around 1726 (where my father grew up),
since Johann Franz Aste was ennobled and became Johann Franz Aste von Astiburg.
He probably chose the nobiliary particle "von Astiburg" due to the family roots in Asti, where the castrum called "Castellum Vetus" or "Castelvecchio d'Asti" was located.
The Astiburg family crest.
See also an excerpt from the Austrian dictionary of noblemen.
I am indebted for these informations to DDr. Hugo-Daniel Stoffella (Free University of Bozen) and DI Christoph Aste, MSc.

During his second trip to Italy,
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart noted in 1771 in his diary:
„Mailand, 23. Augustabends beim Kammerfourier Zinner. Sgr. Fernando Germani. Haushofmeister, und Frau.
Herr und Frau Marianne Aste v.Astiburg geb. Troger. Kammerdiener Voggen. Leopold Troger. Marcobruni.
Besuch bei der Prinzessin Marie Beatrice v. Este.

Later, on the third trip to Italy (October 24, 1772 – March 13, 1773), Mozarts's father Leopold noted on November 21, 1772:
„Wir haben eine weit bessere Wohnung, als wir sonst hatten, schöner, bequemmer, näher noch am theater und folglich etwa 50 schritte
von der Mdme: d’Aste entfernt, die uns ein paar gute Kopfküssen geliehen, da die italiänischen speckschwarden uns zu hart sind.”
Madame d’Aste, called „Madame Marie Anne D’Aste d’Astiburg née Troger à Milan“ in a further letter by Leopold Mozart,
was called Troger Mariandl in her own family, and she was the daughter of the count (Graf) Firmian, Lombardia's governor general at that
time, who was in ordinary to the Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresia.


The Latin origin of the name Aste.

Rovereto: The oak tree ROVERETO (Rofreit)

Town of the Provincia autonoma di Trento in the Regione autonoma Trentino-Alto Adige. Rovereto (in German: Rofreit)
lies in the Lagarina valley, on the Leno River near its junction with the Adige, south of Trento on the Brenner-Verona railway.
It was ruled by the Castelbarco family from about 1300, then by Venice (1416-1509) and Austria (1509-1918).
The 14th-century castle, once a Roman fortress, is now a war museum with the most extensive collection of documents
related to World War I. The Campana dei Caduti (Bell of the Fallen, also Maria Dolens), which can be seen from the
top of the castle, was made in 1924 from melted-down cannons of 19 nations involved in World War I and is rung daily
to remember those who were killed during the war(s). It weights 114 tons, and is the heaviest bell in the world that is still rung.
Since 1965, after a restoration, the two inscriptions on the bell read:

Dormite in umbra noctis laetamini in lumine christi, dum aere iungo populos et vestras laudes celebro.
Nulla e perduto con la pace, tutto puo essere perduto con la guerra (Pope Pius XII).

Have a look at the Vallarsa page !

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Created March 2001, by Andreas Aste. Last update October 2008.