Arms of Valdemanco del Esteras, Spain

Valdemanco del Esteras

Granted 1992

Blazon: Per pale argent a cross of Calatrava gules and vert two bars wavy of the first, in chief a beehive between two bees displayed and in base a sheep statant or

As you might expect from the charges, both agriculture and beekeeping are extremely important to the municipality, all the way back to its founding. The very first settlers were apparently beekeepers and ranchers, so while it might not be particularly exciting, I can’t really fault them for using those as charges. (At this point, I’m more surprised I can’t find anything that claims the bars wavy symbolize two rivers in the area, though I definitely wouldn’t rule it out.)

Arms of Arroba de los Montes, Spain

Arroba de los Montes

Granted 2001

Blazon: Vert a castle triple-towered argent on a chief of the last a molet of six points azure between two honeybees sable

The bees presumably refer to the importance of the beekeeping industry in the region.

Arms of Carlo Barberini

Carlo Barberini


Blazon: Azure three bees volant or, on a point in chief gules a poleaxe in pale surmounted by two keys in saltire argent

The addition of the point in chief came with Carlo Barberini’s appointment to the position of Gonfalonier of the Church (likely around 1623, when Pope Urban VIII was elected). This position gave the bearer the right to use the papal keys and the umbraculum on his personal coat of arms. It is possible that the poleaxe in this depiction ought to be an umbraculum.

Oh, Barberinis. You can fudge the blazon enough to pretend they’re really bees, and you can add all the Papal regalia you want, but your coat of arms still very possibly started out as horseflies. Personally, I’m never going to forget.

Arms of the House of Barberini


In use since 1530?

Blazon: Azure three bees volant or

The House of Barberini was founded by Antonio Barberini, a Florentine merchant dealing in grain, wool, and textiles, in the mid-16th century, likely between 1530 and 1559. They are probably best known for Pope Urban VIII, formerly Maffeo Barberini, who was somewhat infamous for nepotism, and the Palazzo Barberini, which was finished by Bernini in 1633.

Before they rose to prominence, their surname was “Tafani” (horseflies), which were also allegedly the original charges in their arms.