The Gondi

Warriors, traders, baptisers and bankers. A story that begins in the 8th century.

The Gondi Family

An ancient noble Florentine family of whom there is news since the time of Charlemagne. They were podestà of the Florentine Republic, merchants of woollen and auroserical fabrics, baptist, ambassadors with the Medici. The 'Gondi Company' had branches not only in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Poland, but also in Constantinople and Calcutta. They held important political posts, especially in Florence and Naples, while they held fundamental government posts in France with the two queens Catherine and Marie de' Medici. They were very close to all the important Florentine and French families.

For example, in Italy Giuliano Gondi il Vecchio, the man who had the Palace built in Piazza San Firenze, married Maddalena di Filippo Strozzi in his first marriage. While Elena Gondi, known as Lena, was the mother of Jacopo Salviati and therefore in-law of Lorenzo the Magnificent and mother of Maria, mother of Cosimo I and Leo XI.

In France, Antonio, palace master to the Duke of Anjou, is famous because he financed Giovanni da Verrazzano's first voyage in which the Bay of New York and Florida were discovered. He married Marie Catherine de Pierre Vive, a personage very close to Catherine de' Medici. His son Albert, Duke of Retz, Ambassador and Marshal of France, married Claude Catherine de Clermont Dampierre and was also Lord of Versailles. His son, Charles Marquis of Belle Île, was the husband of Antoinette d'Orléans-Longueville, and was also General of the galleys like his brother Philippe Emanuel.

The family coat of arms is "two iron maces in a St. Andrew's cross" on a gold field, a symbol of our warrior origins, bearing the family motto "Non Sine Labore". The Gondi have an ancient title from 1200 "Patrizio Fiorentino" given by the Florentine Republic. They are marquises but use the ducal crown granted to them by the King of Naples Alfonso.

Church and Culture

The Gondi were a very important family in international society. With their economic position, they have been patrons of great artists and they have supported and given to the Church very well known personalities: Fra' Marco Gondi was given the habit by the hands of Savonarola, Cardinal Pietro Gondi followed the works of the Medici chapels with Michelangelo in Florence and in France Piero Gondi was bishop of Paris and converted Henry of Navarre future Henry IV.

Peter was buried next to his brother Albert, advisor to four French kings, in the Gondi Chapel, the apse of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Albert's third son, Philippe Emanuel, Lord of Villepreux and Count of Joigny, was appointed Governor General of the Fleet, distinguished himself in exploits against the Barbary pirates and at the siege of La Rochelle. He married Marguerite de Silly, chose as tutor for his children the man who later became Saint Vincent de Paul, who founded the Congregation of the Mission for the rural apostolate among the peasants. When his wife died, he became a priest and joined the Congregation of the Oratory of Jesus. His son Jean-François Paul was the famous Cardinal of Retz and took part in the Fronde against Cardinal Mazarin.

The Gondi have always loved art. Baccio Gondi was the owner of four small panels by Giotto. They were friends of Leonardo da Vinci, he dedicated a drawing of the Codex Atlanticus to Giuliano Gondi and the Gondi were his executors in his will. Giuliano also brought from Naples Giuliano da Sangallo who not only designed his palace in Piazza San Firenze but also the Chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella which contains Filippo Brunelleschi's wooden Christ. They were patrons of Antonio dal Pollaiolo, Ghirlandaio, Bronzino and had close contacts with Michelangelo.

Tradition

The Gondi distinguished themselves as warriors, then as merchants, baptilers and bankers, also having very important political and ecclesiastical roles in both Italy and France.

But at the same time they have always had properties in the countryside but also a particular love and a dream: agriculture. In fact, Tenuta Bossi and Fattoria di Volmiano have always had properties at the forefront of production.

They have experimented with innovative agricultural techniques while maintaining the tradition and philosophy that distinguishes the Tuscans: the great faith in the territory that identifies this splendid reality of theirs, Tuscany. It is from here that great products of excellence are born, such as Chianti Rufina DOCG wines and various types of extra virgin olive oil, including Laudemio.

The Gondi today

Skilled farmers, authoritative restorers, the Gondi family today distinguish themselves by managing the family properties: Palazzo Gondi, Tenuta Bossi, Fattoria di Volmiano and while maintaining a vivid knowledge of their centuries-old history, they develop agricultural and tourist activities in these structures.

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