Bartoli family

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House of Bartoli (or Bartoli family) is one of the oldest noble families in the world, founded in the town of Volterra, in north-western Italy.

The origins

In 1190 AD, after serving the Pope in the crusades against Islam in Jerusalem, Augusto Giovanni Bartoli became the first duke of his family-tree, receiving the small town of Volterra and its land surrounding.

Every single child born under the family tree of Bartoli of Volterra, became Duke or Duchess.

The firstborn male child, became the Royal Duke of Volterra, in charge of the town and land, while the other children became his/her Highness Duke of Volterra, with administrative tasks.

The Royal Assembly

In 1255, a civil war erupted, because of the poll tax introduced few years earlier, the House of Bartoli was threatened to lose the power and throne by the citizens.

To avoid to lose the control over the city, Giacomo Bartoli the second, approved the introduction of an assembly, where twenty people of not noble families where elected by the town, to control the laws and avoiding the overpowering of the Royal Duke and his family.

The Royal assembly of Volterra, became one of the first in its time, creating one of the first constitutional monarchies.

Every 10th of January, since 1290AD, the Royal Duke and his family, open the Royal assembly of Volterra, through a long parade, to receive the 20 members and discuss about economy and laws.

The loss and re-gain of power

In 1530, the powerful family of Medici, moved from Florence to take control over Volterra and its lands, The Medici house won the battle after three years of war. Medici kept the Bartoli family living in their residences, but removed from them any control and abolished the Royal assembly.

in 1665, the Medici family lost most of the power and control over the land around Florence, leaving the city of Volterra without a governament.

Giorgio Bartoli the third, decided to take power over the city and the land, re-stablishing the Bartoli family as rulers, after 135 years. the coronation took place in Volterra Cathedral in May 1667, after the newly Royal Duke re-opened the Royal Assembly of Volterra abolished by the Medici family more than a century earlier.

The French invasion

In 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte, passed through Northern Italy, with the French army. After taking charge of main cities as Turin, Milan and Rome the French general, invaded the region of Tuscany, including Volterra's duchy. Only eight years after the French Revolution, the invaders dislike for noble families was very high.

Bartoli family lost its control over Volterra and the Royal Assembly of Volterra was abolished by the French general. Gian Tullio Bartoli, after losing his throne, was executed by the French army, on the 21st of September 1799, outside Volterra Cathedral.

Volterra remained part of France, until the end of Napoleon's regime, in 1815.

Savoy family and the unification of Italy

After the French army left Northern Italy, the House of Bartoli came back to power over the land of Volterra, but the Royal Assembly of Volterra never opened again, after Napoleon's invasion.

In 1861, the powerful House of Savoy led the Unification of Italy, conquering the other smaller duchy in the italic peninsula, at that point the Bartoli family lost the control over Volterra completely, including their estates and belongings.

The House of Savoy ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of the World War II in 1946, when Italy became a republic.

House of Bartoli today

After the loss of power and belongings, the Bartoli family emigrated to Liguria, a region in northern-western Italy.

Some members of the family are still alive today, they mainly live in the city of Chiavari. Claudio Bartoli owned the title of Royal duke of Volterra, after the death of his father Italo Bartoli in 2007. Claudio has two sons, Luca Bartoli and the younger Fabio Bartoli, that resides in London, England.