The San Carlo Borromeo Monastery
The farm Terrapille has a very long history. The name can be found since 1683 in a document of the San Carlo Borromeo Monastery in Pienza. In a note the estimates of the value of the house and the campaigns around “Terrapille” are reported.
Since that year the Monastery took over the property of the house, and a nun of the Monastery is charged of its administration taking note of the money and the goods entering and leaving the farm. The Monastery was born on 1618 wanted by Ottaviano Preziani, a reach benefactor in Pienza, and got the “official” approval of Pope Urbano VIII in 1633. The Monastery econonomy was based on the products of the farms around Pienza Sisters got mainly as bequest. Terrapille was part of the monastery possessions. The farm incomes were coming from cereals (grain, avena), fave and sheep, including cheese, wool. The register of incoming in 1683 says: month of May: 15 cheese forms, june: 15 pieces of cheese, etc.
Since 1684 we see a small quantity of wine. The olive oil production was started lately. In a document of the XVIII century ( “Libretto di dare e avere di Bernardino Martini mezzaiolo del podere di Terrapille delle R.R Madri di S. Carlo della città di Pienza…..” the following goods are listed: 5 cows, 45 sheeps, 24 lembs, 1 donkey, oil, eggs and several verieties of cereals.
In 1787 with an act of the Granduca di Toscana Pietro Leopoldo, the Monastery was suppresed and transformed into Conservatory, that is a school for young ladies handled by the nuns, but administered by the Granducato and sustained also with public finances. Terrapille was always kept by the Conservatory. The catasto Leopoldino in the public archive in Siena keeps a map of the 1820S, at that time Terrapille farm included an house with 900 “square arms” (that is around 200,000 square meters). The last document that describes Terrapille, before the war is dated 1932, and it is kept in the “Consorzio di Bonifica della Val d’Orcia” archive:
- Extention 97 hectars (15 plain, 82 of hills, 40 fruitful, 57 fallow)
- Cultivation ( arable cultures 5 hectars, naked cultures 35 hectars, not cultivated 57 hectars)
- Conduction: “mezzadria” (it is an archaic renting contract where the farmer pays 50% of all the fruits coming from the farm to the farm owner. So no money is used to pay the rent, but goods. Paying this rent every year the farmer can live in the house with his family).
- Animals: 10 cows, 1 horse, 65 sheeps, 7 porks
- Products: wheat 20 tons, oats 1 q, corn 9 q, wine 6.5 q, hay 140 q etc
- Family: 14 people
From the ’50s the Orcia Valley was changed by the work of the farmers. Many people left the farms to move to villages and towns, and also Terrapille was left. Once empty the farm was ruined. That area assumed the look you can find today: sweet clay hills, waving landscape changing colors with seasons.