The history of the Villa is intertwined with a thousand other stories from the countryside of the Settempedano territory. There are peaceful stories but also wartime stories, such as ones from a very dark period between 1943 and 1944. While the stories seem distant to us today, as local historians remind us, these stories were written from the blood sacrificed by countless lives. “Blood,” as author Raoul Paciaroni writes in his book, “…a long trail of blood.” His book, published after more than a decade of research, became pretty much the only record of young lives that were cut short in nine months of war. These lives – Partisans, Italians, Slavs, Africans, GNR soldiers, disbanded soldiers, spies, fascists, innocent civilians, Germans, allies, women, and children – were all united by the death they shared between September 8, 1943-July 1, 1944, Liberation Day. Unfortunately, “side effects” of the war continued to claim further blood in the subsequent months and even years to follow. There were more than a hundred deaths during those nine months alone in the San Severino area -from both the winning and losing sides, fascists and patriots, civilians and military personnel.
There are very few official, written stories of what happened in the Villa, most of them just stories told by the locals. Often, these are stories handed down verbally from father to son, from grandfather to grandson. From the remaining artifacts and stories, it was determined that La Villa was definitely occupied by German officers during World War II. Perhaps in these very rooms, tactics were studied and actions were planned. The officers also used the large spaces, in particular, those on the main floor and in the cellars, for other purposes as well, such as parties and social events. Sometimes their troops came to La Villa to stock up on basic supplies. In fact, it seems that the large cellar was used as a warehouse. According to stories told by the locals, Germans had opened an actual store there. The time between 1943 and 1944 – and the following years – must have been difficult moments for the local farmers. The presence of the Germans certainly brought turmoil and fear, especially during the conflict. To make matters worse, the Resistance was very active and well-organized in the campaigns of the war, and these two situations could not coexist.
Understandably, those months were long, almost infinite ones. Liberation Day fortunately followed and brought a long period of peace that has lasted to this day. Not everyone is aware of a small secret, however, which somehow saved the valuable artifacts and treasures of this historic home built by the Coletti family. There was an actual secret room inside the house that remained unknown for a very long time. To keep the Germans, thieves, and looters from ransacking and stealing the paintings, antiques and other valuables, they were moved to this secret room where they remained intact and well preserved over the years. This secret room was used both during and after the war. It seems that the owners hid many of their valuables in this room before sealing it off with a brick wall. The wall was a God-send to keep these valuables safely out of the hands of soldiers and petty thieves for years and years. Whatever was placed in that secret room certainly remained hidden. This is more than likely the only reason these antiques and works of art were saved. While the paintings and furniture have since been pulled out and put back in their places, it is said the owners have reused the room at least a few others times when items have had to be stored long periods. The location of that dark room remains secret to this day. Over time, the secret hiding place has returned to do the job for which it was made: to hide treasure – a treasure that probably only exists today because of its creation. In fact, the current furniture and furnishings are original to the Villa.