The 'del Balzo
"Each great family is born from legends which get lost in the mist of times."
The most veritable legend says that the family originates from "Baldassarre" one of the three Wyse Kings, from which the silver star with 16 rays on the crest, comes.
Others, descending from the sacred root of the Balti which originated the King of the Goti.
There are other legends.
The family history originates in Provence in the South of France.The founder of the family was Pontio I Viscount of Harles and Count of Le Baux, born in 870/880 A.C. He expanded his power conquering various counties, amongst which Vienne, Marseille, Berrj, Montpelier, the Princedom of Orange and on the 8th January 1215 obtained the title of King of Arles and Vienne (practically of all Provence) from the Emperor Federico II.
They arrived in Italy with Carlo I dAngiò in 1223 and became one of the seven most powerful families of the Kingdom of Naples.
Subsequently the family was divided in various branches and had several Feudi, amongst which the County of Avellino and Monte Scaglioso, the Dukedom of Andria and Venosa, the County of Bisceglie, the Dukedom of Bari and the Princedom of Altamura and, in particular, in Terra d'Otranto the County of Soleto with St. Peter and Galatina, the County of Copertino, of Ugento, of Nardò and of Castro, the County of Lecce, the Princedom of Taranto and the Dukedom of Otranto, etc.
Of the various branches of the Family only two still survive: the del Balzo Dukes of Presenzano and the del Balzo Dukes of Caprigliano.
In 1925 in Presenzano (Caserta), the farm San Felice begun processing vines and grapes in its own mill and canteen.
Subsequently (in 1930) the production was increased from the purchase of additional land (the farm Gli Ausi) introducing also cattle for both milk and meat. Simultaneously, in Veglie (Lecce) the family gave a renovated impulse to the existing family farm made of 5 "masserie" and 1050 hectares of olive grows and vineyards.
The last war destroyed the buildings, the canteen, the mill and the stables of the San Felice and Gl'Ausi farm.
In 1945 Francesco del Balzo created in the Veglie farm a new canteen made for 100,000 hl and a new mill for oil. The products were sold in Italy and abroad, particularly in France, Germany and Scandinavian countries. The requirement of the markets, the death of Francesco del Balzo and of his son Fabrizio brought to an end this initiative.
In the year 2000 the nephew Gennaro and the grand-nephews, Antonio and Raimondo, started again the activity of the farm in Veglie, in the Salento area, building a new mill for oil including filling, and in partnership with Vignamaggio of Greve in Chianti a new canteen for 3,500 hl with its own bottling line and both equipped with the most up to dated technologies.
The experience gained in the management, production, and marketing of agricultural product of both the companies in Puglia and Salerno Area, together with the expertise of Vignamaggio of Greve in Chianti, originated the initiative of the Veglie farm under the name "Feudi di terra d'Otranto" an emblematic synthesis of the history of the family in the area, renewed and up to dated to the current requirements.