I spent a couple of
hours this morning talking to a most gentile e geniale distant cousin,
Damiano Spadoni, at a bar in Ponte Buggianese. I gave him a summary of our
shared heritage, going back to the 1400s with our first recorded Spadoni ancestors
at Marliana and Stignano, and then the topic turned to the Casotto Spadoni,
which his late father Gianfranco had used as a hunting shelter in the Padule di
Fucecchio. After exchanging information about our families, Damiano and I tried
to go to the casotto by a back trail, but it was too swampy to continue very
Damiano and I tried to make it through
this patch of woods to reach the Casotto
Spadoni, but we were turned back by
I was mildly disappointed to learn that the casotto had not been passed down through the generations but instead had been purchased from a stranger during Damiano’s lifetime. The new-looking sign was purchased as a gift to Gianfranco by one of his sisters, and it was more of a “man cave” symbol than historical marker. This is obviously not the place where our relative Agostino Spadoni was shot by German soldiers.
In fact, after our meeting, I came home and did some more research and found that Agostino was killed while working on his farm near the Ponte alla Guardia, which is about a mile and half north of the the casotto. Well, it is certainly better to know the truth than to spread false information. And my disappointment was more than compensated for by the pleasure of meeting Damiano. He was raised in Ponte Buggianese and educated at the University of Pisa, but he has since moved to Great Britain, where he completed post-graduate work in chemical engineering and now works in a laboratory. He is only in Ponte Buggianese for a few days visiting his family and friends, a stroke of good fortune for me.
Another benefit of the discovery of the Casotto Spadoni is that it caused me to do some additional exploring in the Padule di Fucecchio and revisit the history of the German slaughter there in 1944. I realized that I should adjust the agenda for our family reunion and include a visit to this important area in the history of our home region. I will be dropping a visit to Massa E Cozzile and adding two sites in the Padule. I have a few more details to work out, and then I’ll publish a new schedule next week.