The past is the spirit of the future
Remembering our roots, passing them on to our children and telling you about them.
History intertwined with the history…of Bonazzi.
The Bonazzi family of Badin
Our family history is as deep and ancient as the roots of our vines. Nobody will ever know the exact beginning of this lineage, However, a document we possess, the ‘Premio Fedeltà alla Terra’ (Loyalty to the land award) received by the family in the 1930s as a sharecropper that remained on the same land the longest, shows us documents of children baptised in the parish church of San Floriano. It dates back to 1576 and mentions children born to the Bonazzi family of Badin.
Putting their body and mind into their work, our ancestors worked as sharecroppers on fields owned by a succession of landlords: these have changed, we have remained.
The house where the Bonazzi sharecroppers lived, and the barn.
During restoration work that has taken place
over the centuries, here is what has emerged:
Roman door and window (“the morning alarm clock”) set into the Barbarian-style vault. When excavation works were carried out for renovation, the ground reached up to about half the height of the house, just above the porch, the lower part was buried.
A cavity found in the wall of the house, used as a chimney for the heating system of the room.
Decorative capitals in the corner of the room, used in order to support the oil lamps, porch and capitals still present in the house.
This artefact was found in the wall, under the mortar: a typical castle with swallow-tailed merlons that represented the emperor's crown in those days.
For centuries, the well here was the only source of water for the manor courtyard and the neighbourhood. Forty-two metres deep, it collected water from the streams all around the estate.
A Receptacle for containing olive oil, known as an ‘albio’ or ‘arbio’ in dialect. It features a curved bottom to collect sediment, and it had a wooden lid. It is the largest to be found in the Valpolicella area up to now.
Decorative memorial stone marking the entrance to the courtyard, located to the west of the manor house.
Stone found when demolishing the old house, dated MA 30 - 1485 (30 March 1485)
The Ottolini family were the first to own Villa Badin, known at the time as Villa Sacra Famiglia, and the adjoining fields. They are credited with redefining the property boundaries with boundary stones bearing their ‘signature’, by carving ‘Otto’ in the parallelepiped shaped stone on the north side, and ‘Lini’ on the south side. They are still present in our fields.
Villa Sacra Famiglia
During this period, our great-great-great-great-grandparents, who were sharecroppers, provided hospitality for the head of the Trezza family, who became rich from smuggling silk. This was the main source of income in the area for more than five hundred years, from the Venetian Republic to the 20th century. In a few years, Trezza succeeded in buying the whole of Badin from the Ottolini family, the properties belonging to the Besi family (hence the name of the Beso plot of land) and Villa Novare (now Mosconi Bertani). Having become one of the major landowners in the area, he told his descendants his desire was that as long as the Trezza family was in charge, the Bonazzi family would also remain as workers. The Trezza family soon became one of the wealthiest, most powerful and prominent families in Verona and its province. They are still remembered today in the squares and streets that bear their name in Verona and Rome.
Gaetano Trezza, Italian writer and philologist
Gaetano Trezza, Italian writer and philologist
The downfall of the family, described in the words of Mario the grandfather, was that: “Cesare Trezza fell into the trap of the First World War. He pledged and signed with the government, before the King, to maintain an army for the duration of the war, convinced that it would last 4 or 6 months. But, instead, it lasted 42 months, therefore [...] in 1919 he was forced to sell everything.
Church of the Sacra Famiglia, now owned by the Bonazzi family. It was built in 1926 by Don Angelo Simeoni.
The wooden altar in the church.
Corte Tribuna Bonazzi, after the fortunes of the Trezza family, saw Badin divided into small estates. Then Don Angelo Simeoni arrived and bought the villa and the land. He was a very authoritative and impulsive man with excellent entrepreneurial skills. He moved to America, near Chicago, and worked as a pastor, school teacher, music teacher and speaker. Shortly after purchasing Badin, he had electricity installed in 1921, commissioned the building of the ‘chiesetta’ (small church in 1926-1927), built the steps in front of the manor house and the tennis court. He also modernised the sharecropper farmhouses and renovated the villa. Lastly, at his own expense, he purchased perennial drinking water from the municipality of Marano. The fountain with a capital at the entrance to our property bears a dedication to him. Throughout their lives, Bonazzi looked after his sister Teresa, who lived in Badin in what was called the ‘palasso’. As a sign of gratitude for the attention he received and the loving relationship established between Don Angelo Simeoni and our grandparents, he decided to leave his possessions to the curia under the agreement (signed by Mons. Giuseppe Chiot, his close friend since childhood) that the Bonazzi family had the right to buy the villa and the fields at a favourable price... and so it happened! Alessandro Bonazzi thus redeemed half a century of generations of sharecroppers.
Cantina Vinicola Bonazzi Alessandro
Sandro the grandfather and Maria the grandmother
Grandfather ‘Sandro’ (the only one who made it to the sixth year) and his four brothers were already taking wine to Vicenza by horse and cart at the turn of the century. In the 1940s, they decided to buy four tanks to increase their income. They placed them in the middle of the courtyard and so, little by little, they laid the foundations of the winery.
Cantina Vinicola Bonazzi Luciano, Mario e Angelo
The company was handed over to the three sons of Alessandro and Maria: Luciano, Mario and Angelo continued in the family business with dedication and care, becoming an example throughout the Valpolicella area of how three brothers can work in harmony.
Cantina Vinicola Bonazzi Ivo, Mario e Angelo
We consider ourselves artisans of wine. Now as the third generation of producers, we believe in the value of the land, in tradition and the family, as our grandparents taught us.
This is our future!!!
Badin is said to originate from ‘Bacini’, the ancient name of the district, due to the presence of water conveyed here. Over the centuries, we can find it abbreviated to Bacin, during the Venetian Republic to Bazin, and finally Badin. In the dialects of the Marano valley, we can often find, for example, the ‘z’ that becomes a ‘d’.
It seems to stem from Vallis Gothorum, a settlement of the Goths, or given to them in concession.
1943 - 45
Nadia Lombard (presumably Anastasia Romanov) with her husband.
She was very good and humble, tall and very thin, with a dark complexion, and she spoke only when necessary. She was very serious with a few melancholic smiles. She always wore a black beret on her head. At night, she slept little and read a lot. She smoked a lot, on average 40 to 50 cigarettes a night...” Nadia Lombard and her husband Giovanni Lombard (a cavalry general) and two of their children were hosted by the Bonazzi family and lived in the villa from October 1941 to June 1943. During her stay, she told Mario Bonazzi about her adventure and a miraculous rescue. On one frightening night, her nanny, whom she was very fond of and spent much time with, saw unusual movements and hid her in a dungeon, where there were many valuables belonging to the monarchs that had been taken there deliberately. She was taken by trustworthy people first to Switzerland, where she met and married a cavalry general called Giovanni Lombard, and later to Italy.... These and other memories of this woman are carefully recorded in the book by Mario Bonazzi, who believes that Nadia Lombard was really Anastasia Romanov.