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The hidden Countship

by Giulio della Porta


The history of a noble Modenese clan which crosses its path with Umbria since the 17th century, in a book that comes from the rediscovery of a property situated on the steep hills between Montone and Pietralunga by Giulio della Porta's grand-nephew (they have the same name), a fundamental carachter for the development of the Tiber High Valley in the 19th century

Prologue by the author

have spent a good part of my life away from Umbria, and decided a few years ago to return and dedicate myself to the re-ordering of the properties owned by the della Porta family.
I settled in Upper Carpini, more precisely in Pereto which is a Jocality situated between Montone and Pietralunga, near Città di Castello and Gubbio. While re-organising our farming estate in Pereto, which has now been transformed into a farming estate in Pereto, wich has now been transformed into a holiday farm, I have gradually taken interest in my family's history as well as that of the area where I live, called Carpini.

I have therefore conceived the idea of writing a book with the double purpose of relating Le Carpini's historical events (the conntship has belonged to the della Porta family since the beginning of the i 18 century) while in the meantime recounting the history of the della Porta lineage. Through my efforts in historical reserch I have meet many people who have helped me complete this book.

It is peculiar to man to wish to leave behind him some trace of his earthly passage. Since the 16 century; my family has lived and prospered in the Gubbio territory and not a few of its members have left testimony ofworthy actions performed duting the course of their lives. Unfortunately during the 1900s some members acted in such a way that the family's wealth was considerably depleted. It is often inevitable that such things happen and we can find everywhere examples of great families going throug a period of decadence after having enjoyed times of great splendour.

Iy is not fundamental therefopre, that earthly possessions be gained or lost but it is important to my way of thinking, to be aware of one's good qualities and human evalue. Moreover, the respect for one's ancestors and the knowledge of one's own origins are equally important.

Sine the recouting of the della Porta's famiy events will stop at the first half of the 19 century I wish to mention in this introduction a member of my family who lived after this period and to whom I am deeply grateful - my great-uncle Giulio della Porta.

He was born in Città di Castello on December 16, 1872 and for a long time promoted the economic and social development of the Upper Tiber Vàlley. In 1915 at the outbreak of WWI he was one of the founder members of the Fattoria Autonoma Tabacchi (FAT) - Independent Tobacco Growers Assocìation - of which he became managing director when the managers Sergio Rossi and Dino Garinei were called to arms.

During those difficult years, in order to keep the company operating, my greatuncle did not hesitate to use his own personal funds. At the end of the war he held, jointly with Sergio Rossi, the company's directorship until his death in 1947.
These where the years when Giulio della Porta brought about several innovations and managed the firm both in the interest of its shareholders and its workers. Between the 1920s and 1930s lie set up a first aid unit and surgery, a kindergarten where women tobacco workers could feed their children and founded a Sickness and Death Mutual Fund for the workers.

Giulio della Porta ran the company in an honest and transparent way especially with regard of keeping the accounts and the same policy has been adhered to by his successors after 1947. He was a member of the Liberal Party and a candidate in the Provincial Council in 1914 as well as holding several responsible positions in various economic, social and educational boards. During the Fascist period he kept faith to his liberal beliefs and tried his best to shelter the company from the obvious external pressures always avoiding to come to personal compromise with the Fascist Party. Near the end of WWII lie energetically endeavoured to avoid the complete destruction of the tobacco wharehouses and together with Dino Garinei, personally underwrote FAT's debts thus avoiding bankruptcy and the consequent job loss for hundreds of workers and growers. In fact, in 1938 FAT was employing about 700 workers for eleven months of the year and about 1200 tobacco growing farms. After the war FAT increased in size and contributed to the economic development and growth of the Upper Tiber Valley.

Giulio della Porta was a discreet man of simple habits who lead a frugal life in a modest room in the family's mansion in Città di Castello. He dedicated most of his life to his work always demonstrating attention and interest for his fellow man; he died on 24 October 1947 and, even today, those who knew him remember him with fondness and esteem extolling his sense of humanity.

Besides the rightful honour rendered to my great uncle Giulio, I wish to thank my father's brother Enzo della Porta, who lives in Gubbio, for his support and affection to my person.

In a passage of the family's history written by my ancestor Count Giovanni Ardicino, there is the foilowing quotation:

"Giulio Savelli Aventinese was the founder of the notable della Porta family, of whom we shall now start speaking, noting that the name Giulio from now on will appear severai times during the various generations of the della Porta family in memory of the illustrious founder of this ancient lineage".

Bearing this name myself, I felt encouraged to do something positive in order to be worthy of such an important family, and among my many efforts, I felt it correct to write this book not only to record the history of this place but also to make my famiiy better known and to leave a tangible testimony of my deeds to posterity.

I am conscious of the fact that what I am writing is not an historical essay, academically speaking, since I am not, nor do I pretend to be, an historian by profession, but the facts reported in my book arise from serious and accurate researeh carried out on archival documents, in particuiar those kept by my family and also through a study of locai historical literature. The different stages of my work have been sustained by a great deal of enthusiasm and the desire to draw out from shadow and silence all those places, people, objects and situations so dear to my heart. I will be very pleased if anybody after having read this book feels inclined to make further research or to better organise the materiai used; the della Porta archives are at the disposal of history scholars and can be consulted at the State Archives in Gubbio.

This book is divided into two parts, each one composed of six chapters. In the first part are presented the historical events of Le Carpini from its origin to the 1700's; in the second part it relates the history of the della Porta family and its acquisition and administration of Le Carpini countship from the beginning of the 1700's. The text is completed with a series of photographs of documents kept in the family archives.

I wish you all an enjoyable and interesting reading.
Pereto, 6 AprIi 2001

Giulio della Porta

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