Because of virus concerns, The Spadoni/Seghieri Family Reunion in Tuscany has officially been rescheduled to May 2-6, 2022. I’m still hoping I can be in Italy this coming spring to coordinate planning, but I need more time to pull everything together and reserve all the locations. And I’m sure that we will all feel safer by waiting to see how vaccine plans progress.
The first two days, May 2 and 3, we will focus on the roots of the Spadoni family, and May 4 and 5 will feature Seghieri history. May 6 will be an open day, with a variety of suggested itineraries, an optional cooking class and a farewell dinner at Fattoria Il Poggio, one of Montecarlo’s finest restaurants.
Following is a tentative itinerary, with many details and exact times still to be worked out.
MONDAY, May 2
Morning: Road trip to Marliana, Massa, Buggiano Castello and Pescia—all places various Spadoni families have lived throughout the centuries.
Evening: Dinner where you will be able to meet and greet Spadoni relatives. I will present information on how the various family lines are linked together along with history of the earliest known Spadonis. Primary information will be presented in both English and Italian.
|TUESDAY, May 3|
We’ll be on the road for most of the day in order to visit the most significant historical Spadoni sites.
Morning: Stignano, Borgo a Buggiano and Ponte Buggianese. The church in Stignano is where we find the first records of Spadoni marriages and baptisms in the late 15th century. It’s also the location of the Spadoni tomb, an indication that the family occupied an important role in the town in the 1500s. In the 1600s and 1700s, most Spadonis moved into the lush farmlands that were opening up around Borgo a Buggiano and Ponte Buggianese as new canals lowered the level of the swampy Padule di Fucecchio. Ponte Buggianese still has a large concentration of Spadoni families, all of whom are descendants of two brothers from Stignano in the late 1400s. We will see the street named for Italo Spadoni, look at many Spadoni graves in the cemetery and visit the site where Italo was brutally murdered by Fascist zealots in 1924.
Afternoon: After lunch in one of Ponte Buggianese’s best restaurants, we’ll move on to San Salvatore, where Enrico, Michele, Alfredo and Adolfo Spadoni were raised (Enrico remained in Italy, while the other three all moved to Washington state). We’ll see the church where Michele met and later married Anita Seghieri. Then we’ll travel to Capannori, where we’ll visit the impressive but mysterious Torre degli Spadoni.
Evening: Dinner will tentatively be at La Favola Mia in Chiesina Uzzanese, which is owned by cousin Leonello Spadoni.
Morning: Tour of the Fortezza di Montecarlo, followed by a wine and Tuscan aperitivo tasting (fees to be collected upon entrance).
Afternoon: Tour of Lucca, with 5-Star guide Elena Benvenuti, a Lucca native and the wife of Davide Seghieri.
Evening: Dinner where you will be able to meet and greet Seghieri relatives. I will present information on how the various family lines are linked together along with history of the earliest known Seghieris. Primary information will be presented in both English and Italian.
We’ll be on the road for most of the day in order to visit the most significant historical Seghieri sites.
Morning: Tour of the facilities of the Casolare dei Fiori (family of Gilda Seghieri and Enzo Pasquinelli). Tour of churches in San Salvatore and Montecarlo and several other sites in Montecarlo with significance for Seghieri family members. Tour of Montecarlo cemetery.
Afternoon: Lunch in one of the Montecarlo restaurants that serves exquisite Tuscan cuisine. Tour of Casone di Marcucci (which once housed some 50 members of various Seghieri families), tour of family farm of Ivo, Celestino and Fabbio Seghieri. Tour of church in San Gennaro of Capannori, where Torello Seghieri was once the choir director. We’ll stop in Alberghi (a suburb of Pescia), where we will sample gelato from the best gelateria in the area and then stop at the bicycle shop owned by Francesca Seghieri and her husband Franco Natali. The final stop will be at a used merchandise store where you can buy interesting souvenirs at a great price.
Evening: Make your own plans for dinner. Recommendations will be available upon request.
FRIDAY, May 6
Morning: Open, but with many suggestions, including: Go to the open air market in Ponte Buggianese (ends at 1 p.m.). Take the funicolare to Montecatini Alto. Go to a wine tasting (plenty of options). Drive to Vinci, birthplace of Leonardo and home to two Leonardo museums. Shop in Montecarlo, Montecatini or Lucca. Drive to the Devil’s Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano. Go to the Parco di Pinocchio. Take a train to Florence or Pisa.
Afternoon: Cooking class with Elena Benvenuti.
Evening: Farewell dinner at Fattoria Il Poggio.
What kind of costs can you expect? Airfare, obviously, is a major expense, but you can save by making reservations well in advance. The closest airports are in Florence and Pisa, each of which are about 40 minutes from Montecarlo. It’s usually cheaper to fly to the major airports of Rome or Milan. However, if you are only coming for the reunion and not planning to visit other cities, it likely won’t be worth the savings to book flights to Rome or Milan because of the time and expense required to travel to Montecarlo. Also, one of our family members is Gina Natucci, who is a travel agent familiar with the area, and she can assist in making airfare reservations. Contact her through the family reunion Facebook page.
You’ll need to provide your own housing, and I’ll provide recommendations with contact information in the coming months. You’ll also need to provide motor vehicle transportation as we move from site to site. You can rent a car at any airport.
Meals at our various group dinners will be paid to each restaurant, and costs will vary depending on what you order and the menu prices.
Cousin ElenaBenvenuti is a professional tour guide, and if you want to take the tours of Lucca or the cooking class, you will pay her set rates and make your reservations with her directly. It would be great if you could contact her prior to the reunion, but you’ll also be able to sign up when you arrive. Entrance to the Fortezza di Montecarlo costs around 8 euro and a wine tasting will cost from 20-30 euro.
Otherwise, there are no costs associated with the historical site tours, which I will lead, with occasional help from other family members. Showing people around our wonderful ancestral home is my hobby and a labor of love.
I’m a little nervous about bringing so many people together in one place, most of whom speak only one language. However, there is precedent: The French Seghieri families, with help from Davide, Elena and other Montecarlo relatives, have held some wonderful reunions both in Italy and France. Your patience and positive attitudes will hopefully overcome my shortcomings in planning and leadership.
I’ll be working with Elena and other relatives to firm up the plans. Meanwhile, put the dates on your calendars, talk to members of your family and make sure your passports are current. It may be more than a year away, but you’ll want to be well prepared for an unforgettable reunion and vacation! Ci vediamo in Italia.