This surname of LENTINI is the Italian form of Lawrence which was a baptismal name 'the son of Lawrence' an ancient and still popular personal name. The name was borne by a saint who was martyred at Rome in the 3rd century AD; he enjoyed considerable cult throughout Europe, with the consequent popularity of the given name. The name is also spelt LENZ, LENTE and Van LENT. Despite evidence that hereditary surnames were in use in the Venetian Republic as early as the 10th Century, the origin of many Italian surnames is unclear. There is still a great potential for research into medieval Italian records while documented evidence indicates the adoption of the father's name as a surname is the most common form. The familiar endings of "i" and "o", meaning to be a member of a certain family, bears this out. A notable member of the name was Jakob Michael Reinhold LENZ (1751-92) the German author, born in Livonia. He was one of the young authors who surrounded Goethe in Strasbourg. He was a fervant admirer of Shakespeare, and this was expressed in his 'Anmerkungen ubers Theater' which was published in 1774. He was a gifted writer of lyrics. The Church played a very important role in Central Italian heraldry and many Italian families who derived their titles from popes incorporated elements of the papal insignia, notably the papal tiara and the crossed keys, on their Coats of Arms. As in the rest of Europe, the turbulent history of Italy in the Middle Ages is reflected in its heraldry. Traces remain from the successive invasions of the Germans, French, Spanish and Austrians. Certain characteristics, such as the use of horse-shaped shields which were put on the foreheads of horses during tournaments, remain uniquely Italian. Social conditions in Southern Italy during the agricultural depression of the late 19th Century spurred the first wave of emigration as thousands of people escaped to the New World. Latin America was the original destination for these early settlers but as the economy strengthened in the United States, North America became more popular.
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