Friday, October 25, 2019

Get ready for a spectacular family reunion in Tuscany in 2021

The Spadoni and Seghieri families have deep, deep roots in Northern Tuscany, particularly in the Valdienievole, the valley of the Nievole River. The first Spadoni we find in our ancestral line is Bartolomeo Spadoni, born around 1430. Our Seghieri line has been traced back to Giunta Seghieri, born around 1255.

During the hundreds of years our families lived in the same region, the local culture shaped them—and they shaped their community as well. Historically, most of our ancestors were farmers, although only a few of our Valdinievole Spadoni and Seghieri relatives follow this traditional occupation today. For the most part, our ancestors weren’t rich, noble or famous, but many of them left their stamp on the landscape, and some of these landmarks remain today.

Consider this blog entry your personal invitation to attend a reunion of the Spadoni and Seghieri families to be held in the Valdinievole in late spring or early summer of 2021, with the exa
Group photo from the August 2019 family reunion in Gig Harbor
ct dates still to be determined. We’ll visit sites of historical significance to the region and to our families, and we’ll meet relatives from Italy, France, the United States and possibly other countries.

In the many months I’ve spent in Montecarlo during the past eight years, I’ve uncovered quite a bit of information about our history, and I’ve also traced the whereabouts of many relatives who immigrated to other countries. All of this has been made easier because of the Internet, but some was still done the old-fashioned way of poring over aging and difficult-to-read documents and conducting interviews.

My vision for the reunion is to take a few days to share some meals together, giving people a chance to meet and interact informally. At one of the meals, I can make a presentation on the history of our families and will also explain how various branches are connected through our extended family trees. At least one day will be devoted to touring significant Spadoni sites and another for important Seghieri locations.

Italo Cortese, standing near the cross where his grandfather
Italo Spadoni was killed by a Fascist mob in 1924.
Tentative plans for the Spadoni tour include short trips to Marliana, Stignano, Ponte Buggianese, Buggiano and Pescia, all small towns that our ancestors inhabited. Of these, Ponte Buggianese is the most significant, as Spadonis began moving there in the early 1600s, and some 50 to 100 still live there today. One of the principal streets is named via Italo Spadoni, after a martyr killed for opposing Fascism. His grandson Italo Cortese and great grandson Francesco Cortese still live in the center of town and operate a large farm nearby. The central piazza has a monument in Italo Spadoni’s name, right next to the church our ancestors attended and in which they were baptized, married and eulogized. The cemetery contains numerous grave markers for family members. Mayors of Ponte Buggianese include Emilio Spadoni (1896-1903) and Astolfo Spadoni (1925-1931).

Our own leaning tower
In nearby Parezanna stands the Torre degli Spadoni, a 16th century tower named for a branch of the family. Little is known about the origins of this tower, and over the centuries, it had fallen into a sad state of disrepair. However, the comune of Capannori restored it beautifully in 2013, and we’ll see the results.  Another stop will be San Salvatore, a frazione (suburb) of Montecarlo and the site of the childhood home of Michele, Alfredo and Adolfo Spadoni, all of whom immigrated to Washington state in the early 1900s. San Salvatore is also where Michele met and later married Anita Seghieri in 1908, the first official connection between the two families.

The Seghieri tour will focus on locations in Montecarlo and a neighborhood called Marcucci, named for our ancestor Marco Seghieri, who lived there in the late 1500s. Much of the farmland and many of the homes are still in the hands of various Seghieri families. The so-called Casone di Marcucci is actually seven homes, all attached. Six are still owned by Seghieri families, although two are currently unoccupied (Lucy and I once considered purchasing one of these before settling on our current home in Montecarlo Centro). It is my hope that reunion participants can tour some Seghieri farms still in operation.

At one time, some 50 members of the Seghieri family lived
in the Casone di Marcucci near San Salvatore.
Other important Seghieri locations are the churches in San Salvatore and Montecarlo, both of which bear testimony to the Seghieri family on their walls. Two large homes in the city center once were homes to a wealthy branch of the family, and one still bears the family crest. Another church in nearby San Gennaro is also on the agenda. Torello Seghieri directed the philharmonic band of this church, which also happens to be the location of one of the few surviving statues attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.

Elena welcomes you to Lucca.
In addition to these special days, tours will also be offered by Tripadvisor’s number one guida turistica from Montecarlo, Elena Benvenuti, the wife of our cousin Davide Seghieri and a native of Lucca. She offers tours of Lucca, Vinci, Pisa, the Fortress of Montecarlo and many other fascinating locations. Elena is also an experienced chef and provides classes in Italian cooking.

The Montecatini Alto funicular
Other attractions may interest your family if you decide to come prior to or stay after the scheduled reunion. I highly recommend taking a walk or bike ride through Lucca and around its massive walls. Children may be interested in the Parco di Pinocchio, and the beaches at Viareggio and other smaller coastal towns are less than an hour away. The marble quarries at Carrara offer both spectacular views and a breath-taking ride in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Riding the historic funicular to the top of Montecatini Alto is another great option. And then there are abundant vineyards and olive groves where you can sample the region’s famous wine, oil and appetizers.

As the time grows closer, I will provide a list of suggested housing possibilities, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, agriturismi and villas. Each family will be responsible for securing its own accommodations.

Don't neglect tasting the famous wine of Montecarlo.
As for the dates, I am uncertain whether to schedule the reunion in early May or mid-June. The weather in early May is ideal, usually in the mid-70s (23 to 25 C), so personally I would prefer this date. June can be blistering hot in Tuscany, and it’s also a busy month for my business in Gig Harbor. However, I recognize that students and teachers will still be in school in May, so they may prefer June. If enough people make this request, I’m open to a June date.

Keep checking my blog and the Spadoni-Seghieri Family Reunion Facebook page for further details. It’s also likely there will be another reunion in Gig Harbor in the summer of 2020, at which time I should have additional information. Meanwhile, here is a poll where you can express your preference for the date: When is the best time for our reunion?


  1. Hola, yo soy maestra.Las fechas disponibles para mí sería Enero y hasta el 15 de Febrero. Gracias

  2. Lo siento, pero no podemos hacer esas fechas. El clima es demasiado frío y lluvioso para ver los sitios.


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