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Sep 21, 2012

Trust & Travel and the Popes…

At a recent dinner party, a friend of mine introduced me to Cassius, her young lively nephew.

“So tell me, young boy, I asked him, what would you like to be when you grow up?
– I want to be a pope, he replied with a straight face.
– A pope?! You mean…
– A super pope with super powers.
– … Wow.”

Well, why not. Cassius turned around before I had time to wish him good luck.

Centuries ago in Italy, kids born to riches in influential families could hope to become super popes with super powers. I got interested in popes several years ago when I realized that four of the family estates which Trust & Travel represents are owned by direct descendants of popes!

I also realized that this “fact” is nothing to be surprised at. In olden days, popes were wealthy people who could build or acquire palaces, castles and the likes. They also had families, descendants and diverse rightful heirs, whom they bequeathed their property to.

Italy has always been a country deeply rooted in its past, culture and heritage. Families like to pass on to their descendants what they have inherited from their ancestors. Old historical sites – for which I have a soft spot – are most often passed down from generation to generation.

As a result, it’s only natural that some of the large estate owners in present day Italy are actual descendants of popes. Most of them are not as rich as their papal forefathers, though. And the problem of the expensive upkeep of the land and buildings are one they are confronted with on a permanent basis. However, cultural tourism – which Trust & Travel helps them develop – brings them a well-deserved relief as well as concrete solutions.

As a visitor to one of these exceptional estates, you will greatly appreciate the fact that these old families have been there for centuries. As much as the land they live on and the architecture they breathe life into, they are part of Italian history. This will be very tangible to you.

Finally, who are the “super popes” whom Trust & Travel is related to through four of its family estates? Here they are:

Pope Gregory XIII, born Ugo Boncompagni, initiator of the calendar we use today (the Gregorian calendar). He has left his pontifical mark on Il Fontanile

Pope Clement XII, born Lorenzo Corsini, builder of the famous Fontana di Trevi  in Rome. He still haunts the precincts of the Marsiliana  estate

Pope Clement VIII, born Ippolito Aldobrandini, patched things up with spoilsport Henry IV. His soul is still hovering over the Castello di Celsa

Pope Marcello II, born Marcello Cervini, was a highly skilled cardinal and one of the presidents of the Council of Trent. Vivo d’Orcia  has kept a vivid image of him in its heart…

Pope Cassius I, my friend’s nephew, and to whom I will devote a whole blog post if he ever gets enthroned…

Katharina's Italy

Life at the villa, Tuscany