When we show our clients the hamlet of Camporsevoli, one of the most frequent questions asked concerns the age of the buildings they are looking at.
We try to explain that it is difficult to establish the actual age with certainty since some of the stones date back to recent renovations forty or fifty years ago, while others date back almost three thousand years.
The remains of an Etruscan tomb are beneath what was formerly the feud’s courthouse, now identified by a stone plaque.When our ancestors acquired Camporsevoli in the mid-19th century, many important Etruscan amphorae, vases, urns, and utensils were found on the property. These were subsequently donated to the Chiusi and Chianciano museums that in turn donated many pieces to the British Museum and the Museum of Dresden.
"From the early 13th century Camporsevoli began being referred to as Castrum Camporsedulis (Camporsevoli Castle)"
The first official mention of Camporsevoli as Plebs s. Johannis de Camporsedole (the Parish Church of San Giovanni of Camporsedoli), is written in an act dated 1228 concerning the demarcation of lands subject to the commune of Orvieto. To date, finding evidence of Camporsevoli as an inhabited town centre from the Etruscan period to this first official mention has been impossible; however, we can presume that this was the case given that the Christian plebs layed where the ancient Roman pagus once stood, preserving the same structure and delimitation.
Throughout the Frankish-Lombard period, the parish church of Camporsevoli belonged to the Diocese of Chiusi and was thus territorially dependant on its Duke who extended his jurisdiction over the territory of Populonia up to the Lombard Duchy of Pisa. After several attempts to revolt against the regime of Charlemagne, the Lombard ordinances were replaced with Frankish ones and a Carolingian Count was sent to Chiusi.
During the disintegration of the Carolingian Empire over the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries, Camporsevoli was forced to change from being a parish church to becoming a veritable fortress, as mentioned in subsequent documents. In fact, from the early 13th century, besides being mentioned as a plebarium, Camporsevoli began being referred to as Castrum Camporsedulis (Camporsevoli Castle). For example, considering the taxes imposed on the parish church of Camporsevoli in 1228 – three lira and eight soldi – it is possible to determine that the population was composed of few families. Granted its population outnumbered Cetona and Celle whose taxes were respectively one lira and fifteen soldi, and two lira and four soldi, it was less than Fighine, which paid four lira and sixteen soldi.
With the emergence of the surrounding communes, Siena and Orvieto in particular, the area of Camporsevoli was continually disputed by its respective feudal lords and became the scene of constant and bitter conflicts. That is, until 1399 when Boniface IX granted Monteleone and Camporsevoli to Count Francesco della Corbara to repay his loyalty as well as having “always sided with the Church for better or for worse.” The grant was renewed after the death of Francesco on behalf of his son Ugolino, on April 11th 1452. As a consequence of the continuous wars fought on the feudal territory during this period, Camporsevoli for the most part was destroyed.
On September 9th 1462, Pope Pius II Piccolomini granted the perpetual curacy of Camporsevoli to his nephews Giacomo and Andrea Piccolomini. The feud remained in the hands of the Piccolomini family until the end of the 16th century, albeit constantly contested, by means of weapons or legal quibbles, by the Papal State and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The climax of the dispute revolved around the bandit Alfonso Piccolomini, attacked by the Church and protected by the Grand Duke, both of which acted more out of the desire to get their hands on the strategic feud of Camporsevoli than for apparent legal reasons. After the death of Scipione Piccolomini, previously indicated by the Holy See as the legitimate successor of Alfonso, on October 21st, 1608, the feud passed definitively under the patronage of the Grand Duke who appointed himself the Apostolic Vicar of Camporsevoli.
Bestowed as a dowry, the feud now fell under the guidance of the Malaspina family. So it remained until 1630 when, to resolve a long dispute with the Piccolomini family, it was purchased by Maria Magdalena of Austria and ceded to the Florentine senator Niccolò Giugni during the process of ratification of the contract. In turn, on July 14th 1630, he acquired the entire property, erected as a marquisate and subinfeudatagli by the Grand Duke Ferdinando II.
During the subsequent two centuries, the feud of Camporsevoli lived a quiet life like any other small feud. While it was no longer the scene of armed conflict and uprisings, many long diatribes regarding ownership continued, particularly regarding claims by the Piccolomini, Malaspina and Giugni families.
The sole and legitimate ownership of the entire territory of Camporsevoli was finally granted to Marchese Giugni, who sold it to our ancestor, Sebastiano Grossi, in 1857. The following five generations accompanied it through 150 years of change: from its several allotments at the end of the sharecropping period and subsequent decline of agriculture, up to the present holiday farm activity.