The Counts of Angoris

An Agricultural Economy based on Sharecropping

At the begining of the 1900s the land where La Faula sits was owned by the Miani Counts of Angoris. The Tenuta d'Angoris just outside Cormons is still today a large agricultural property renowned for its wines.

Late 1500's Map A Watercolour of the Villa of Angoris and Surrounding Vineyards by G. Wolff

The properties of the Counts of Angoris were held by a company called SACTA - Societa' Anonima Conduzione e Trasformazioni Agricole - based in Venice. However, the Counts' main income derived from oil trading in Rome where what was one of their properties is still a landmark of the City today.

Villa Miani - Rome Roman Centuriation in Ravosa and nearby Villages.
Circles Indicate Roman Findings, Asteriscs Lombard Findings
View of Rome from Villa Miani Roman Centuriation in The Friuli Region
Villa Miani in Rome, Via Trionfale 151

In the 1950s Luigi Count Miani of Angoris was one of the first bottlers of the fine wines of the D.O.C. Collio wine area, making it renowned in Italy and abroad. Apart from being a passionate thoroughbred horse breeder, the Count had a passion for peach-tree cultivations which covered large areas of the countryside around the village of Mariano near Cormons/Gradisca. He selected early peach varieties which were sought after by the markets. On January 19th, 1940 the Count married in Rome, Yolande Beatrix de Dampierre, Rome 1918-1990, of the Pinces of Ruspoli (an Italian noble family originating from Florence in the 13th Century) and had a son, Alexis.

Around 1910, the Count decided to build within his property at La Faula a house to accommodate a family of share-croppers. The inhabitants of Ravosa, generally rather poor, were employed to help in the building, by clearing tree stamps, digging the foundations, delivering materials in shoulder-carried baskets - Cosse in the Friulian idiom - to the building gang, squaring stones taken from the quarry at the bottom of the hill or the river bed. All of this, in exchange for the very tree-stumps that they dug out of the ground and much needed money. The house was built in three stages, the first being the west side rectangular-shaped building. Apart from the house, the local villagers also cleared - by hand - most of the hill from tree stumps so as to make it all suitable for cultivation. It is hard to believe today, but the hill had hardly any trees on it.

The builders of La Faula:

Stonecutter A stonecutter.
Women carrying 'cossis' What women delivering building materials to the building gang would have looked like.
Cecilia Foschiatto making gnocchi at La Faula 1997 Cecilia Foschiatto, Magredis 1907-2003, worked as a tree-stump remover. Here in a photo taken at La Faula preparing 'gnocchi'.
Austro-Hungarian Land Register Map Map from the Austro-Hungarian Empire Land Register Where La Faula Sits Today.

Of the first share-croppers, the Nicoletti Family, that the Count, or rather his chamberlain (gastald, in the Friulian idiom) employed nothing is known. In 1929, following the world-wide financial crash and the Italian Lira devaluation, a Pietro Marano from Trivignano Udinese (a village in the South of the Region) lost everything he owned overnight. He loaded his few possessions, his six children, three boys and three girls, and his wife Erminia Paviotti on a cart pulled by a cow and headed towards Ravosa. There, he had heard, they where looking for a sharecropper to manage the property of La Faula. However, his stay at La Faula was rather short-lived. In fact, in 1930, after having managed La Faula together with a newly arrived family of sharecroppers, the Basso Family, The Marano Family moved to a new job in Segnacco in the Municipality of Tarcento where they would tend the banks along the railway-line. The three sons subsequently became lorry drivers. In 1945, as they were carrying out a delivery to Feltre in the mountains of the Veneto Region, they were ambushed and shot at by retreating German soldiers who probably took them for Italian Partisans. Sadly, one of the brothers was killed and another crippled for life.