Principality of Lucedio in Trino
The Abbey of Lucedio is dated 1123, founded by the Cistercian monks who reclaimed the territory by introducing rice cultivation at the beginning of the 400th century.
Over time, thanks to the strategic geographical position along the Via Francigena, the Abbey became a thriving center of economic and political power: three were the Pontiffs who visited it.
Lucedio was also a cause of clash between Italian dynastic families: passed from the Gonzagas to the Savoys, the Abbey became the property of Napoleon at the beginning '800.
Subsequently it passed to the marquis Giovanni Gozani of San Giorgio, ancestor of the current owner, the countess Rosetta Clara Cavalli d'Olivola Salvadori di Wiesenhoff.
The history of the Principality of Lucedio
The abbey was founded in the first quarter of the 1123th century, presumably in XNUMX by some Cistercian monks from the monastery of La Ferté in Chalon-sur-Saône, in Burgundy, on land donated to them by the Marquis Ranieri I of Monferrato of the dynasty of the Aleramic, land to be reclaimed, characterized at that time by the presence of marshy areas and uncultivated bushes (called locez, hence the abbey's title).
The abbey was erected as a fortified structure and immediately assumed the name of Abbey of Santa Maria di Lucedio. During the XII, XIII and XIV century its fame and its patrimonial expansion grew constantly, thanks to abbots who knew how to combine spirituality and fervor of works.
Among them must be mentioned the figure of Blessed Oglerio da Trino who ruled the abbey from 1205 to 1214, the date of his death. Revered early by the confreres, his cult was officially approved by Pope Pius IX.
During the Middle Ages, the abbey played a leading role in the history of the Marquisate of Monferrato, being one of the sacred places most related to the Aleramic family. Not surprisingly, many marquises decided to be buried here.
The abbey's land patrimony extended far beyond the lands next to the monastery (with the grange of Montarolo, Darola, Castel Merlino, Leri, Montarucco, Ramezzana, etc.), also including plots located in a large area in the Monferrato and in the Canavese.
It is interesting to examine what was the management system adopted - a system common to the entire Cistercian order - which was based on the division of the possessions of the monastery into grange, at the head of each of which was not a monk (already burdened by commitments of order spiritual) but a converse brother who knew how to make the grain work.
The converts, who in turn coordinated the work of free wage-earners (called mercenaries), replied to their activity to the cellarer, a monk who treated the administration of the entire abbey on behalf of the abbot.
The not distant abbey of Santa Maria di Rivalta, near Tortona, was born as a subsidiary of that of Lucedio in the 1171.
In 1457, with a brief by Pope Callisto III, the monastery ceased to be of direct relevance to the Cistercian order, becoming Commenda, placed under the patronage of the Paleologi, marquises of Monferrato (with right, of appointment of the abbot and collection of annuities ).
Exhausted, after that of the Aleramic ones also the dynasty of the Paleologists, the feud passed to the Gonzaga who took over from Casale in the Monferrato regency; while the Savoys had begun to advance their alleged rights over the monastery. Only in 1707 did they manage to complete their design.
In 1784 - after a period of strong friction with the diocese of Casale for the appointment of the commendatory abbot, the abbey was secularized and its grange became part of the Magistral Commandery of the Order of Saints Maurizio and Lazzaro. The Cistercian monks, now reduced to a dozen, were transferred to Castelnuovo Scrivia.
In 1792 the Order of San Maurizio conferred the command on Duke Vittorio Emanuele I of Savoy, but after a few years the monastery fell into the Napoleonic decrees to suppress religious orders. It was precisely Napoleon who ceded Lucedio's property to Camillo Borghese, in partial compensation for the art collections that had been requisitioned to him in Rome.
After Napoleon fell, a dispute broke out between Camillo Borghese and the Savoys on the possession of Lucedio. The properties were divided into lots and sold to various characters (including the father of Camillo Benso, count of Cavour). The lot with the abbey complex of Lucedio passed under the control of the Marquis Giovanni Gozzani of San Giorgio who in turn, in 1861, sold the estate to the Genoese duke Raffaele de Ferrari of Galliera, to whom the Savoys conferred the right to boast the title of Principe. Thus was born the so-called Principality of Lucedio, a name that still appears on the entrance portal of the estate. Currently it belongs to the Cavalli d'Olivola family.
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