Short historical notes about Casa Carducci in Castagneto
The uncontrolled republican and Carbonaro faith,, combined with the difficulty in controlling what he said had caused a lot of trouble for Doctor Michele Carducci in Versilia: as a student he had been convicted to a year of confinement in Volterra, and as a young doctor he could not find work anywhere.
So on 25 October 1838, he had moved to Bolgheri, to the “Maremma” estate of the time, fief ab antiquo of the Gherardesca family.
However, there to over time, his old beliefs came to the fore again and exploded, and unfortunately so did his problems.
Labelled by the parish priest as “anticlerical”, “anti-count” and “anti-grand duke”, he was forced by the funereal sound of some night-time gunshots, which remained a mystery, of course, to leave Bolgheri and take temporary shelter in Castagneto.
It was 2 June 1848: Giosuè had spent almost ten years in Bolgheri, a very important period of time that spanned from childhood to adolescence.
The Carducci family came temporarily to Castagneto, in the hope of returning to Bolgheri, but they stayed for almost eleven months. The house where they stayed belonged to Odoardo Espinassi Moratti, son and grandson of former agents of the Gherardesca family: three room in the farm next to the building that Clemente Moratti, Odoardo’s grandfather, had bought in 1799 from a Casanova who emigrated to Peccioli.
These were eleven months of high tension and burning passion for the doctor, whose political inflexibility, in times like the Castagneto Quarantotto, that for some time had been a revolution within a revolution, was at first praised and enhanced by the local influential people. Then, when the prospect of having 1500 sacks of earth to split between all the families in Castagneto became a reality, the doctor’s ideological rigour was no longer needed, and in fact became a hindrance: he thus found himself in the sad situation of having to make do or leave.
After a new, unlucky experience in Laiatico, as a simple interim that ended with another night-time escape, on 26 April 1849 Doctor Michele went to the Espinassi Moratti's farmer, Francesco Dell’Omodarme, paid his rent account (50 lire for six months) and then the Carducci family left for Florence, towards a future with no prospects.
Once famous, Giosuè Carducci, returned to Castagneto and often visited the house where he had lived as an adolescent.
When the poet died on 16 February 1907, together with the immediate municipal resolution to change the name of ”Castagneto Marittimo” to “Castagneto Carducci”, the hypothesis of the town council buying one or both the “Carducci homes” in Bolgheri and Castagneto was timidly bandied around, similarly to what happened when Carducci was still alive in Bologna, where his sponsor was Margherita di Savoia.
The house in Bolgheri was not even taken into consideration, given the lack of credit enjoyed by Carducci with the Gherardesca. The purchase of the house in Castagneto was wanted by everyone, but there was a huge obstacle: the owner Antonietta Espinassi Moratti was only twelve years old.
The prospect therefore remained in the world of dreams: in fact, when she became an adult, World War I was ongoing and there was no more room for dreams.
The dream is now finally a reality, thanks to Antonietta's daughter, still a child, Maria Bianca Cancellieri, who restored the apartment with the patronage of the Town Council.
In June 1992, almost a century and a half after he first stayed there, Carducci once again became a citizen of the town in “his” Maremma that had such a great influence on his education and his poetry.
Carducci was born in Val di Castello, a hamlet of Pietrasanta in Versilia, on 27 July 1835 and died in Bologna on 16 February 1907.
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