AN ANCIENT CASKET OF SECRETS AND TRADITIONS
The best narrations always start in a distant, often magical place. However this is the story of a nearby place: a stage where history, tradition, family and nature are the characters who allow us to travel with imagination and heart. The story becomes understanding and finally the trigger to seek beauty.
Villa Roberti was built in in Monte S. Giusto on 18th century .
The year of construction of this typical farmhouse is proven by the recent discovery of a brick dating back to the year 1769. In fact, it was common practice to lay the first stone near the foundations of the building: the name of the owner and the construction year were engraved on it.
Through the maps and registers of the Gregorian land register dated 1811 we were able to locate the land, the house, accessories and the owner at that time: Count Giuseppe Giovanni Roberti.
THE TYPICAL FARM HOUSE
The farm buildings such as Villa Roberti were characterized by simple construction typologies realized through the use of materials easily available in the neighboring areas, such as brick, stone and mortar (which constituted the "sack masonry"). The wooden materials were used for the load-bearing frameworks of intermediate floors and roof slabs.
This house was built for rural purpose and as such it respected the common principle of having the family's living spaces on the upper floor, above that used for the several agricultural services. The stables and deposits were totally separated from the spaces used for civilian use. for various reasons as well as higene. The kitchen was therefore on the first floor, together with the bedrooms and some rooms sometimes used as a warehouse.
THE ORGINAL LAYOUT FROM 1769
The plan of the building was rectangular, the two-sided roof covered with "tiles" arranged in a chain (alternately with the concavity upwards and downwards, covering the joints of the former).
On the ground floor there was: the stable with two entrances and two "bedding", on one side the draft cattle and on the other side the dairy cows and calves. The barn windows were small and tall with a window frame made in wood or metal, they were opening from top to bottom.
On the east side of the building there was a door with access to the cellar which had no floor and was located in lower level than the the other rooms in order to absorb the soil moisture and to be able to store food as well as the aligned barrels along the walls of the building.
The external staircase were located on the right side of the warehouse entrance and on top there was a "loggia"; by loggia is meant the terrace at the end of the stairs, with a rectangular or square shape, from there was possible to access the kitchen opens. The space under the stairs was used as a chicken coop.
At first floor, a double door led to a large kitchen, dominated by a fairly large fireplace against the wall in the center of the room. The cookers and a small storage room for food were placed on the sides of the fireplace and in the center a long wooden table with rough benches for sitting.
A STORY OF FAMILIES AND TRADITION
During 250 years of history, this house met several families along its journey. They have indeed characterized the property by making changes and transformations in relation to the historical period and their social class.
The Counts Roberti family built the farmhouse and has been the owner until the family died out on the first half of 1900; the last heir, Conte Guarnieri Roberti Giuseppe, died on 1941.
The Count had two daughters: Valeria Guarnieri Roberti married the Count Brancadoro from Sant 'Elpidio a Mare who inherited the property.
The other daughter, Annalina Guarnieri Roberti married the Marquis Costa from Macerata.
For about 180 years the house was entrusted to families who managed and used it according to the sharecropping system, in particular Vagni family (also locally known with the nickname "Grastacuccu") lived the house for three generations.
During 50s the building was transformed into a manor house until it became the villa of the Land Manager in 1983, in fact the Counts Brancadoro donated the property as a severance pay to Mr. Agostino Morichetti. He was the Land Manager with great experience whom the noble family trusted for more than 50 years.
On August 2016 the central Italy earthquake damaged the building ruinously. On 2020 the building has been renovated by the Italian Architect Enrico Rinaldesi.
Four rooms opened onto the kitchen, all of them were used as bedrooms; finally a wooden staircase from the kitchen led to a low attic used as a closet.
The farmyard, located in front of the front facade of the house, was paved in brick.
THE UTILITIES OF THE FARM
The house had warehouses, closets and sheds for tools, seeds and stocks, as well as spaces suitable for the first processing and transformation of at least part of the products. The best examples are given by wine cellar and the cellar for the vinification of the grapes but is worth to mention also the room for the loom, the rooms for the breeding of the filugello or for the conservation of the olives, the dryers for chestnuts, acorn and tobacco, the barn and the haystacks, the manure and, not least the premises for the processing of the silkworm.
In conclusion, if the farm wanted to remain economically efficient over time, the sharecropping house required continuous interventions for the reworking of the interiors and the construction of new bodies, juxtaposed or separate, in a system that allowed those who lived in the countryside to keep up with the times and with crop innovations.
SHARECROPPING AND SMALL ARISTROCACY
The affirmation of the sharecropping system appears in the Marche region at the end of the 14th century and has been clearly guided by the cities where the landowners lived; in other words, sharecropping is an expression of the city's dominion over the countryside. Thus arise small houses scattered or gathered in villages on the lands that the municipalities had redeemed from feudal power.
The structural renewal of the Marche countryside also coincides with the consolidation of the pontifical power who allowed restricted oligarchies to rule the most important urban centers in the region and to exercise strict control over the farmers.
The first evidence about the establishment in Le Marche of Roberti's Family comes from the fourteenth century. What we know about this noble family before the eighteenth century, is what is written in the annals that have been going since 1415, by the volumes of the Officers of the Municipality from 1601 to 1664 and by the Historical Compendium of the City and Bishopric of Recanati.
According to these documents the House of Roberti was part of the regan nobility of Recanati until the early seventeenth century. The family had members with chosen careers in the field of law and militia in the 16th century and in the clergy in the 17th century.
Thanks to the historical “Compedio del Coronelli” of 1715, we know that the family heraldic blazon is blue with the silver cross and with five gold stars charges. The red chief has three golden lilies placed in a raw.
SHARECROPPING IN LE MARCHE OVER THE CENTURIES
In the decades of the 16th century expansion, Le Marche region increased agricultural activity, also due to the commercial development of Ancona and other cities on the coast (Pesaro, Senigallia, Recanati, Fermo ) who were having active commercial traffic with Dalmatia, Albania, Greece and even with the Asia.
These were the years in which Rome definitively conquers the entire region with the exemption to the Duchy of Urbino. In this period the population has grown and it managed to go back to the levels of 14th century; the cities are getting bigger and more beautiful.
In the 17th century, the principles of “honor” and “regalia” were recovered. The pact between landowner and land-holder becomes more tightened, the power of landowners in the countryside become stronger, the poverty of the peasants increases and no investments are made for the farms.
On 1696 corn arrives and its production will soon expand to the whole region; it is lagging behind Veneto and Lombardy, but in a little more than a century, the Marche will become one of the most cultivated maize areas together with Umbria region.
A general improvement in living conditions allowed a demographic increase of 200,000 units between 1700 and 1800. We see at this stage that sharecropping is evolving, inserting itself into a corporate dimension. The Ancona port exemption of 1732, the imposition of the "flat" land register in 1777, the customs reform of 1786. The papal reform season takes place from Clement XII to Pius VI.
CARDINAL ROBERTO G.F.ROBERTI
In the years immediately after the construction of the house, Count Giovanni Roberti had several children. We have testimony of the sons Giuseppe and Roberto.
The first became Monsignor, domestic prelate and provost of the collegiate church of S. Giovanni in Macerata; in particular, we found the original version of the funeral eulogy pronounced on 14 May 1859 by the Dean Francesco Rutile.
The second brother, Roberto G. F. Roberti, undoubtedly had the most brilliant and relevant career of the whole noble family.
He was born in Monte S. Giusto on December 23, 1788.
The house had been built 19 years earlier and in the years of the cadastral documentation from 1811 the young count was 23 years old.
Roberto G. F. Roberti began an administrative and judicial career during the Roman Restoration age. He entered the prelature rather late, around 1836-37, as a referendum and domestic prelate of Gregory XVI.
In October 1838, he became a lieutenant and vice-president of the civil court of the auditor of the Chamber. Politically close to the conservative positions of Gregory XVI, Roberti was an exponent of the high papal bureaucracy.
After the election of Pius IX (June 1846), an overall reform of the pontifical institutions began, which culminated on June 1847. This established a Council of Ministers, composed by the holders of the main curial magistrates. Roberti, as general auditor of the Apostolic Chamber, assumed the title of minister for justice affairs.
Roberti was therefore part of the first two Councils of Ministers of Pius IX, the Ferretti government (June 1847-January 1848) and the Bofondi government (February-March 1848), still expressive of a monarchy project that reserved government offices only for prelates .
After the assassination of Prime Minister Pellegrino Rossi, on November 24, 1848 Pius IX escaped to Gaeta, taking refuge under the protection of Ferdinand II of Bourbon. From here, three days later, he appointed a government commission for the temporary direction of public affairs, a kind of regency council.
Roberti was called to be part of it together with a small group of nobles loyal to the Papacy. At the end of February 1849, after the proclamation of the Roman Republic, Roberti was ordered to leave Rome. After having gone into hiding, he returned to the on summer of 1849.
Appointed cardinal on September 30, 1850, Roberti maintained a leading role in the papal government during the last two decades of the Papal States.
However, he was generally appreciated for his administrative competence, and his moderation led him to consider him as a possible candidate for a future conclave.
He died in Rome on November 6, 1867. Exposed in the church of S. Maria in Vallicella, Rome; the funeral took place on November 10, 1867 with the participation of Pope Pius IX, and buried, according to his will, in the church of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo, Rome.