They came from Valle d'Intelvi, near Lake Como. Active since the 16th century, one branch of the family settled in Styria, Austria, in the mid-17th century. The numerous members worked variously as architects, master builders, sculptors, stuccoists and painters, often using their powerful family ties to promote one another's work and earn new commissions. They were mainly active in Austria and Germany as well as in their native Italy, their influence extending into the first half of the 18th century.
Among the most prominent were the stuccoist Giovanni Battista Carlone II (c. 1641-c. 1720) and his sons Diego Francesco Carlone (1674-1750), the architect Carlo Antonio Carlone (1635-1708), and his nephew the decorative painter Carlo Innocenzo Carlone (1686-1775). Giovanni Battista II founded the famous stucco workshop that operated mainly in southern Germany and Upper Austria and was taken over after his death by Diego Francesco. Carlo Antonio worked at Kremsmünster Abbey and, most notably, began work on the abbey church of St Florian. One of the most sought after decorative painters of his time, Carlo Innocenzo executed frescoes for royal and aristocratic patrons as well as for many churches.