Villa Gresti, the wine dedicated to Gemma who saved 11,000 soldiers

by Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tenuta San Leonardo is famous for its wine, San Leonardo, one of the most renowned of Italy.

Between labels serving there is one, Villa Gresti (Merlot 93% and Carmenere 7% , expresses all the softness and elegance reminiscent of the French Merlot) that tells the story to the most unknown of a great woman, Gemma de Gresti. To tell it to me was the Marquis Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga, the owner of the estate with his father Carlo, at an event that I organized in Domus Bergamo 16 October. That story, who narrated from Abdullah is arguably more compelling, I reproduce below, sure the next time you enjoy this wine we feel in a while’ the stubbornness of gem.

  Gemma de Gresti was born in Borghetto of Avio, territory at the time of the austro-Hungarian Empire, in Tenuta San Leonardo, sixth of six children, in a wealthy family: the father Eudes It was a noble trentino, known for patriotic ideals and Italian thread. For many years a diplomat in Russia, Odo had met and married Emilia de Asart, daughter of count Charles de Asart of Odessa, He was also a diplomat.
Despite spending a lot of time on the estate in Borghetto of Avio, the family de Gresti was resident in the Kingdom of Italy, and Gemma attended school in Florence, While his stay in Pisa. At the Institute of peace, learned some manners, the fine arts, music and foreign languages. The family would sometimes even in Milan, already known and important city as a meeting place and crossroads of the most powerful families of the time.

During a stay in Milan the Marquise, He met Tang Guerrieri Gonzaga (1866-1902) Marquis of Montebello: Sustinente resident in the province of Mantua, He was a doctor but had set aside personal aspirations for the profession to embrace a military career as a medical officer in the Italian Royal Navy. The young doctor, fascinated by the charismatic Gemma, the churches in bride and the marriage was celebrated for 26 September 1894 in San Leonardo. Immediately after Tang left the military and moved to Bologna, where Gemma followed him and bore his son Anselm, affectionately called Emo, the 2 August 1895.

The 2 January 1902 After a dental Tullo will die as a result of septicemia at the mouth: at the age of 29 Gemma Guerrieri Gonzaga himself widow with a son from growing.

After her husband's death, Gemma moved to Rome, where his son Abdullah attended the prestigious Istituto Massimo school run by the Jesuits. A few contacts were maintained with the husband's family, with the exception of Maria Guerrieri Gonzaga in Maraini, husband's cousin, energetic and determined woman, contact and friendship with prominent personalities such as Maria Montessori and was the godmother of Elsa Morante.
The marchesa for the rest of my life never remarried and retained the last name of her deceased husband; closely with the Roman high society, Gemma strengthened his character and his fervent Catholic faith.

Left Rome, the Marquise and his son Anselm moved to Turin, where the latter was educated at the Real Collegio Carlo Alberto di Moncalieri where young noblemen are educated and trained for a military career. In 1913, the age Miley decides to become a lawyer like his grandfather, Although not renounced military career and took part in the first world war.

At the outbreak of the conflict, begins the work of Gemma de Gresti in favor of Tan soldiers of the Austrian army prisoners in Russia. In November 1914, on a visit to his estate, then in Austrian territory, learned of the condition of imprisonment of some local young people; He decided to intervene, getting a hearing in Rome at the Russian Ambassador in Italy, While writing to their relatives and friends living in Russia.

The enterprise was successful when the two brothers were found Franchini, sons of peasants who followed the tenuta di San Leonardo (recall that San Leonardo is the protector of prisoners…); the news encouraged other families to ask for his help. If at first the letters of the families of missing soldiers come from Trentino, Shortly afterward came also from Friuli, from Venezia Giulia, from Istria, from Dalmatia. The Marquise was engaged and strove for all.

He settled in Turin, where was supported by many people, also common, from friends and political and diplomatic authorities.

Between Trentino, Rome and Turin, Italy Gemma Guerrieri Gonzaga he travelled and strove by becoming flag of lament and discouragement of that particular moment of Italian and world history. Between influential friendships, consulates, Ministers and Governments was known as a stubborn and able to understand your condition and will.

He worked even on hospital and nursing: got a free pass that the Supreme Command, He collaborated with the Italian Red Cross and established a field hospital at the tenuta di San Leonardo. His humanitarian efforts lasted until a few years before his death: in 1923 He founded the Association of Veterans of Russia to continue the search for missing soldiers, and help amputees and war wounded, and their families. In total, Gemma was able to bring home 11.000 soldiers.

When Gemma Guerrieri Gonzaga became the effective owner of the estate, He settled there and lived until his death, that took the 14 marzo 1928, at Rovereto, following a cerebral hemorrhage. The Marquise was not the marriage between her son and Emma Emo Maraini, cousin's daughter Mary that both helped and supported during his tenure and challenging his research.

The tenuta di San Leonardo is currently managed by Carlo, son of Emo and Emma, and his son Anselm.



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