Wednesday, 30 December 2015



The town of Ostuni was granted for a sum of 84,000 ducats to a Neapolitan Banker of Spanish origin, Juan (Giovanni) Zevallos on 14 December 1639, to whom the crown was a substantial debtor.  The latter was created Duke of Ostuni in 1646 (in return for forgiveness of the debts). The Zevallos family were extremely unpopular with the inhabitants of the town who resented (and indeed attempted to burn down) the massive Palazzo Zevallos built by the first Duke. He was succeeded by his son Francesco in 1657, then in 1694 by the latter’s son Bartolomeo who died in 1762 when he was succeeded in turn by his son Francesco (II). Francesco, IV Duke, ceded the town and duchy to his daughter and heiress Maria Carmela in 1784. Bartolomeo Cevallos, III Duke, was created Prince of Valenzano in 1748, after acquiring the fief from the Crown.

Maria Carmela Cevallos y  Villega, Castillo y Salvador, married Giandomenico Tresca Carducci, Patrician of Bari; in 1804 she was obliged to surrender ownership of the feudatory of Ostuni because of maladministration.  The abolition of the feudal system in the kingdom of Naples in 1806 by the new French regime further impoverished the family– she died in 1815.

She was succeeded by her son Bartolomeo Tresca Carducci as IV Prince of Valenzano and VI Duke of Ostuni, who was in turn succeeded by Giovanni Tresca Carducci, V Prince and VII Duke (1824-1864/66), succeeded by Filippo, VI Prince and VIII Duke (1853-1922), succeeded by Giovanni, VII Prince and IX Duke (1886-1933), who was succeeded by Filippo Trecsa Carducci, VIII Prince and X Duke (1922-20..), who was succeeded by Giovanni Tresca Carducci, born in 1948, IX Prince and XIth Duke of Ostuni.

Juan (Giovanni) Zevallos has no male line descendants and the sole legal heir to his title of Duke of Ostuni is Rodolfo Tresca Carducci.

The succession of the Tresca Carducci family was affirmed by King Ferdinando IV of the Two Sicilies, and the titles of Prince of Valenzano and Duke of Ostuni are recorded in the 1922 Elenco Ufficiale of the Italian Nobility published by the government of the Kingdom of Italy.

The claim to the title by a Spanish citizen who has obtained an Italian court decision that purportedly recognises him as Duke of Ostuni is therefore without merit. The Italian court was misled as to the facts and the actual succession to this title under the original patent, the confirmation of the King of Naples and Sicily and the inclusion of the title as pertaining to the Tresca family in the Elenco Ufficiale is an absolute bar to a claim by any other person.

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