The coat of arms of the conti Bettoni Cazzago counts
Forever bound to the ‘Magnifica Patria’ (Magnificent Homeland), namely to the lands of the Riviera di Sal, the Bettoni family has been known to live there since at least the 14th century, although it became prestigious in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The current villa was built by the sixteen sons of Gian Domenico Bettoni (1663-1748), the founder of the enterprise that sold throughout Europe and all the way to Russia the lemons grown in Bogliaco. Gian Domenico had very good relations with the Court of the Hapsburg, and indeed was nominated to negotiate on behalf of the Emperor Charles IV the succession to the throne of his daughter Maria Theresa of Austria. Out of his sixteen sons, most notable are Gian Maria, who in Genoa was active in trade and finance, Carlo the agronomist and founder of the Agrarian Academy of Brescia as well as inventor, philanthropist and author of many scientific works, Marshal Gian Antonio, the man-at-arms who distinguished himself in the Seven Years’ War during which he achieved the role of commander of the Austrian cavalry, and finally Delay who resided for a long time in Naples where he attended Court and dedicated himself to good times and gallantry accompanied by Casanova himself.
In the 19th century, the Bettoni family, now Bettoni Cazzago, tie their fates to that of the newly born Kingdom of Italy, also thanks to their union with the patriotic Fenaroli family. Worthy of mention, therefore, are Ludovico (1829-1901) nominated Senator of the Kingdom, and his brother Francesco, essay and novel writer who, like his nephews Vincenzo and Federico, was elected Mayor of Brescia.
Witness to the family’s important status are the figures it has hosted in its ancient home in Brescia: foremost, Napoleon Bonaparte (whose bedchamber has been preserved intact), as well as Victor Hugo, Mascagni, Napoleon III, Garibaldi and Puccini who became a close friend of count Federico.
The Italian sovereigns were also accustomed to staying at the Bettoni’s when visiting Brescia. An absolute must is the mention of Colonel Alessandro Bettoni, the valiant horseman who in WWII at Isbuscenskij led what became historically known as the last cavalry charge and who was also a famous athlete, participating twice in the Olympics and in another 65 international and 141 Italian equestrian competitions, winning countless prizes and trophies.