Della Dea family in Chiusi
In the early 11th century the city of Chiusi was ruled by the Counts of Chiusi Ardingo e Ranieri. They are said by some to be the founders of the della Dea family. Others maintain that the della Dea descend from a secondary branch of the Tolomei family, and still others affirm that their roots can be traced back to before the fall of the Roman Empire.
Count Omodeo della Dea and Emperor Frederik II
In 1220 Pope Honorius III crowned Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen (1154-1250). In the same year Omodeo della Dea led the Embassy that the inhabitants of Chiusi and a number of other Italian cities sent to the Emperor to congratulate him on his arrival in Italy. On that occasion Frederick II granted Omodeo della Dea the title of Count Palatine and the privilege of bearing the crowned Imperial eagle in his coat of arms, which has been used by the family ever since. The earlier coat of arms of the Della Dea family was three gold rings in an azure field, a fact that caused the family also to be known as the Anelleschi (anello = ring).
Count Antonio della Dea and Emperor Charles IV
In the mid 14th century the Count Antonio Della Dea was sent by Chiusi as ambassador to Charles IV in Siena to draw the Emperor’s attention and power to the anguish suffered by his city, torn by civil war and oppressed by outside enemies fighting over its sovereignty. Having appeased the civil discord within the small Republic and in order to guarantee its independence from external enemies, the Emperor declared Chiusi “an Imperial city” without detracting from its liberty. Leaving a close representative with the title of “Imperial Vicar”, the Emperor then returned to Germany. But as soon as Charles IV left Italy, the Vicar was routed and the city of Chiusi was overrun yet again by civil war. The inhabitants of Chiusi burnt down the palace owned by the representative of the della Dea family who had had the honour of welcoming the Emperor and had been granted numerous special privileges. Most of the family’s special records and those of the city were destroyed in the fire. The spot were the building had stood, on the right of the Cathedral, was for a long time called the “Torrione di Omodeo”, after one of the founders of the “della Dea” family (later known as “Dei”). This is the official version taken from sources close to the Della Dea family. Although there are no grounds for certainty, we also have reason to believe that Antonio della Dea was not exactly an ambassador for the inhabitants of Chiusi, but simply went to ask the Emperor for help in one of the many wars between different factions fighting over the city. The Emperor silenced the factions opposing Della Dea and placed the city under direct imperial control. As soon as the Emperor’s troops had left the area, the inhabitants of the city took revenge on Della Dea.
The War of the Ring
While Ser Giovanni da Filicaja acquired Figline Castle near Montaione (1452) and renamed it “Al Filicaja”, the Count Damaso Dei (the Della Dea family of the time were called Dei) used diplomatic means to persuade the city of Perugia to return the Holy Ring to Chiusi. The latter’s brother, Anton Felice Dei, General Captain of the Inhabitants of Chiusi, declared war on Perugia for the theft of the Ring. The Holy Ring was a relic that had been kept for years in the city of Chiusi and was alleged to have been used during the marriage of the Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph. A German Augustinian friar, Wintero, living in Chiusi in the monastery that guarded the relic in the church of San Francesco, stole the ring in 1449 and handed it to the Perugians. Pope Sixtus IV intervened in the war, drawing the attention of the inhabitants of Chiusi to the miraculous finding of the body of Saint Mustiola. This calmed the most fiery spirits. The Ring remained in Perugia where it is still housed in the Cathedral. Saint Mustiola was and still is the patron saint of Chiusi; she was a cousin of Emperor Claudius whose fiancé, Lucio, was killed by Emperor Aurelianus. Lucio was a Christian and had given her the ring that Joseph gave the Madonna, whose theft had sparked off the war.
XVI Century: Conte Deifobo Dei and Pope Paul III
In 1529 Charles V’s troops entered Montaione and, during the same period, while Ludovico da Filicaja founded the monastery of Bigorio in Switzerland, Damaso Dei drafted and published the new Statutes of the city of Chiusi. In the mid 16th century, Pope Paul III granted the title of Count Palatine to Deifebo Dei.
Conte Flaminio Dei and Madonna Porzia de'Nardi
The first official contact between the Dei and the Nardi families dates back to this period with the marriage between the Count Flaminio Dei and Madonna Porzia de’ Nardi. Marriages between the two families then followed century after century.
Flaminio Dei the "Transylvanian"
While Baccio da Filicaja landed in Brazil, Flaminio Dei (1568-1630) and Silvio Piccolomini were sent to Transylvania by Ferdinand I to help the Emperor Rudolf against the Turks who were threatening Hungary. Flaminio then followed Francesco de’Medici to Mantua to help Duke Ferdinando Gonzaga in the war against Emanuele Duke of Savoy. He then transferred to the Spanish army and was with the Count of Fuentes during the wars in Flanders against the French. His last appointment was as Commander and Governor of Leghorn Fortress.
Conte Alessandro (Nardi) Dei
Conte Alessandro Dei (1750-1815) was born in Chiusi in the mid 18th century. At the age of one, Alessandro Dei inherited the properties left in trust by the dei Nardi, an old and noble family from Chiusi and Siena invested with the title of Count of Chiusi and Patrician of Siena. He therefore became Conte Alessandro Nardi-Dei , the founder of the family that still exists as the Nardi-Dei and Nardi-Dei da Filicaja Dotti branches.
Nardi-Dei, da Filicaja e Dotti
A grandson of Conte Alessandro Nardi-Dei, Flaminio Nardi-Dei, married Virginia Rossi-Redi, daughter of Conte Luigi Rossi-Redi and Francesca da Filicaja. The Al Filicaja estate and the surnames da Filicaja and Dotti were inherited by Flaminio’s grandson, Conte Andrea Nardi-Dei (subsequently Filicaja Dotti). Having received the da Filicaja Dotti inheritance when he was still only 12 years old, the estate was managed from 1932 to 1944 by his father, Conte Alessandro Nardi-Dei.