The one person who, more than any other, has always represented the true meaning of family tradition and history for all of us, was our grandfather Domenico.
His large portrait, equal in size to that of his wife Virginia, has always looked over us in our dining room: a big man in a dark suit, seated in a large armchair, with snow-white hair and a long beard combed in two. We could not have thought of a better figure to represent the family’s ancestry.
He was the son of Sebastiano, the only Grossi we have no picture or portrait of, who in the mid-1800s purchased the entire Camporsevoli Estate from Marchese Giugni.
Unfortunately, we know very little about Sebastiano. We know that he came from Florence, that he had been hired as the farm’s director, and that he was the descendant of an ancient and impoverished noble family whose roots dated back to Pope Clement IV, known as “il Gros”. In the letters that have survived, Sebastiano gives the impression of having been a cultured, cautious man, interested in the life of his young son in boarding school, later concerned that this same son not worry his father-in-law, Pietro Daddi, with economic concerns.
It would be that son, Domenico, who would take the farm of Camporsevoli to its maximum splendour in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The property stretched as far as the border with Umbria, including forty-seven farmhouses and approximately five hundred people. They were also the years that rendered Camporsevoli as we know it today: with its paths in the shade of cypress trees, the few characteristic pine, fir and cedar of Lebanon trees, the central villa and the current and definitive structure of the hamlet.
Domenico had five children: Valentina, Margherita, Roberto, Piero and Gualtiero. Virginia raised her children with the support of Valentina, Margherita married Sertorio Ceccantoni and lived in Orvieto, giving birth to Antonio and Domenico. Gualtiero, after having spent a good part of his life with his brother Piero, later married Maria Spleis in 1960, and was always known as Zio Bum: polio left him paraplegic, and he grumbled as he moved around on a noisy motorized wheelchair. Roberto, who never married and was part of the Vatican diplomatic corps, was Domenico’s true heir. He would be the one to lead the Camporsevoli Estate to the present day, through the difficult decline of agriculture in the post-war period. Piero, who survived both World Wars and married Louise Wenger of Detroit, is the grandfather of those of us that now run the Camporsevoli Estate. A colourful and adventurous life, an excellent cook and floriculturist, he had four children: Virginia, Pier Luigi, Elena and Pier Francesco. Unfortunately, of the four, only the last two survived.
"it is largely thanks to the life led and example set by Piero and Louise that today Camporsevoli has become so well rooted in the tourism sector"
While the management of the Estate had been entrusted to Roberto, it is largely thanks to the life led and example set by Piero and Louise that today Camporsevoli has become so well rooted in the tourism sector. Piero's passion for cooking combined with that of Louise’s passion for hosting, along with their extraordinary number of friends and family around the world have made Camporsevoli the destination of continuous visits and the centre for parties and dinners for generations. It has always been a place where people are happy to arrive, and reluctant to leave. Therefore, it seemed so natural for Pier Francesco and his wife Elena in the 1980s and 1990s to carry on this tradition and passion for greeting guests, beginning what has now become a thriving business centered on hospitality.
As the most recent generation, we are already embracing the future one: not one day passes without sensing all the work and love that was invested here by every person mentioned in these few lines. We take pride in every stone in the hamlet and every plant or plot of land on the Estate in an effort to pay tribute to that hard work, as we look after Camporsevoli – this splendid elderly gentleman – to accompany it across the decades to come.