Tombs of the Douglas Scotti

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This article by Thomas Trenchi first appeared in on 27th October 2023.

From the ancient Scotland of sovereigns and vassals to the present day in the urban cemetery of Piacenza, in a small family chapel that is falling to pieces. Certain distant roots are once again intertwined through word of mouth and the power of the web, after the article published by last October 18, entitled "Disadvantaged graves, cemetery managers are looking for heirs: on the trail of the Douglas Scotti".

During an inspection of the cemetery in via Caorsana, in fact, the municipal administration and the private manager (Altair Group and Sanitaria Servizi Ambientali) had taken stock of the numerous expired concessions, at least 10 thousand among approximately 70 thousand total deceased, in addition to the many graves that find themselves in unseemly and dangerous conditions. Maintenance would be the responsibility of the owner families, and among these there is a cemetery chapel belonging to the noble house of Douglas Scotti, ruined by time and lack of renovation work, with crumbled parts of plaster and faded names. But in recent months, those responsible for the plant had come across a real mystery: what happened to the descendants of the noble family who enriched themselves during the 13th century with banking and mercantile activities? Searches through databases and documents had proved complicated, the letters sent in the Milan area to hypothetical heirs by registered mail had been returned to the sender.


In the Douglas Scotti chapel, the first burial dates back to 1869 and the last to 1899.

After the article published by, however, something has changed. In recent days, Alberto Douglas Scotti – Tuscan, 58 years old, editorial consultant – wrote to our editorial staff from Florence: “I was unaware of the matter and I never had the opportunity to visit the family tomb in Piacenza. Thank you for letting me know that it exists." And here finally, after months of waiting and checks, a concrete contact between the descendants far from our territory and the managers of the urban cemetery.

“DIFFICULT TO FIX IT” – “We no longer have any connection with this splendid city, except as tourists. Let's say that the last person who touched Piacenza soil as an indigenous resident is buried there" says Alberto Douglas Scotti, or rather - even if aristocratic titles no longer have legal value - Count Alberto Douglas Scotti. In the urban cemetery in via Caorsana there are three chapels belonging to the family, including a degraded one delimited with a safety tape: in this small cemetery structure the first burial dates back to 1869 and the last to 1899. However, there are no good news: “If it is true that the house had a certain prestige in the past, this is no longer the case. Over time, the economic conditions of the family did not allow for accommodation – explains the descendant -. I really don't think we will be able to provide maintenance, reluctantly."

THE ORIGINS – But in the meantime the 58-year-old Tuscan reveals the origins of his lineage: “Tradition has it that the progenitor is a certain Sholto, a mercenary following Charlemagne who took up arms to help the Franks against the Lombards. The lineage is neither certain nor linear for a couple of centuries, during which however, in the Piacenza area, for example, the name of San Fulco, bishop of Piacenza in 1210, stands out". The coat of arms sees a mountaineer in Scottish clothes and a warrior in armor on either side of a shield. “The documentation – continues Alberto Douglas Scotti – becomes certain starting from Lanfranco, from which the family is divided into various sections, such as Vigoleno, Sarmato, Fombio and San Giorgio. The one from Vigoleno, of which I have more testimonies, had his fiefdom in Vernasca. The noble branch, at the time of the unification of Italy, spread to Rome and Campania, and then definitively established itself after the Second World War, with the few surviving members, in Tuscany and Lombardy".



The video of the tombs shows a Douglas Scotti armorial.  I am not clear on whether Thomas Frenchi found it in the tombs, or located the image elsewhere.


There are several cemeteries in Piacenza, Italy. One of them is the Cimitero Monumentale di Piacenza, which is located on Via Caorsana. This cemetery is known for its beautiful architecture and historical significance. It is the final resting place for many notable individuals from Piacenza's history.


See also:
•  Douglas family in Italy portal



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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024