Even the small country of Ronta can boast of having given the nation artists, literate, illustrious and famous church men. But apart from any triumphalism, the community must be fairly proud of the famous people of Ronta.
Giovanni Battista Stefaneschi
In 1582, by the mason Francesco Stefaneschi, he was born in Ronta Marchionne or Melchiorre. After studying in the country and under the guidance of the local priests, at the age of 22 he entered the hermitage of Montesenario, and in 1604 he dressed the clothes of the servants of Mary changing the name from Melchiore to Giovanni Battista. He professed on April 11 of the following year and on 1 January 1606 celebrated the first Mass. He had never thought of drawing. He enriched his knowledge through the friendship he had with Ligozzi and Pietro da Cortona. At first he was devoid of brilliant impulses, because he painted without creating. Soon he became one of the famous people of Ronta, so much so that he could be also sought out from the hermitage walls. The Grand Duke saw the first work of the friar and was enthusiastic enough to want the miniatures of famous works. Stefaneschi performs a lot of reproductions, including: La disputa delle Trinità of Andrea del Sarto, Adorazione dei pastori of Tiziano, San Giovannino of Raffaello e la Madonna adorante il Bambino of Correggio. These can be admired at the Uffizi Gallery.
He made many copies of the fresco of the Annunciation in the oratory of the SS. Annunziata, as well as the image of the Savior, works by Andrea del Sarto. He painted two cenacles at Bologna and Ferrara. In the church of SS. Annunziata di Firenze maintains a miniature frontispiece of the “Atti di San Filippo Bonizzi”. He was also summoned to Rome by Pope Urban VIII but we know nothing about his work.
In his artistic career he was also a portraitist, as shown by the painting by composer Paolo Grassi. There are also two self-portraits left by Pitti and the monastery of the Madonna della Quiete in Quarto.
He dedicated the last years of his life to praying at Montesenario. His superiors, however, wanted to call him in Venice to found a hermitage similar to Florentine. As soon as he moved to Venice, he died (October 31, 1659) because of malaria contracted during the journey through the Pianura Padana. He was buried in the church of the Convento dei Servi in Venice.
Critics define Stefaneschi as a brilliant portraitist and miniaturist. The country of Ronta has kept the house of Stefaneschi and dedicated to him the ancient road, one of the famous people of Ronta whose country must be proud of.
Giovanni Angiolo Gatti
He was born in Ronta on December 17, 1724. He entered at 12-year-old in the Archbishop’s Seminary not so much for religious vocation, but because, at that time, he was the safest way to get an education. He left the seminary and the ecclesiastical studies in 1744. He enrolled at the University of Pisa at the faculty of medicine, where he graduated in 1748. Just graduated he became a teacher at the same university. By the time it became an illustrious character of Ronta but above all a great character in medicine. A passionate scholar of endemic diseases, wanted to see and study the methods used to treat smallpox, and visited Lombardy, Egypt and Greece, where he became enriched with experience. In 1760 he went to Paris. Here he has very successful and in just over two years he performed more than a hundred vaccinations against smallpox.
Shortly afterwards, very envious of the other people, he was accused of the injections he performed. Tired of this attack, he offered a reward to anyone who demontrated the reappearance of smallpox on vaccinated subjects.
No one came forward. Louis XV commissioned him to carry the vaccine to the students of the military school. Gatti helped reduce smallpox poaching in France. He collected the fruits of his experiences in the “Reflexions sur les préjugés here s’opposent aux progrès and a perfection de l’inoculation” and “Nouvelles Reflexions“. In 1771 he was appointed a special physician for the king and superintendent to all hospitals in France. In 1775 Gatti returned to Italy and resumed teaching in Pisa. In 1778, with the permission of the Grand Duke, he went to Naples where he had been called by the king to vaccinate the whole royal family against the smallpox. He remained in Naples until his death on January 18, 1798.
From the scientific point of view it was certainly a worthy person of the humanity for its struggle against smallpox. Gatti was certainly one of the famous people of Ronta, but also of the world.
Of a wealthy family, Filippo was born in Pulicciano in 1766. When he was two, he remained orphans and with his brothers was placed under the protection of Uncle Angelo Gatti. Intelligent, he enrolled in law school in Pisa and graduated. It was not to do the lawyer and so, happy with the fruits of his possessions, he preferred to dedicate himself to the letters, to attend literary circles, and to compose epigrams and fairy tales. In letterature, he used irony in a masterly manner. In addition to being a literate, Pananti assume in their time a prominent political importance. He wrote the poem “La Civetta” and the sonnet “La guerra di Mantignoso”. In July 1799 he was forced into exile and fled to France and his possessions were confiscated (later returned to him). He went on to teach at the famous Soresia College as a professor of Italian mathematics and literature. Left the French college moved to London. Around 1803, he was taken from the theater. He wrote “Il poeta di Teatro”, one of his most important works. Pananti, during his London period, founded a newspaper together with three other fellow nationals, called l’Italico, a political newspaper, literary and miscellaneous. In September 1813 he left England with the intention of going to the East and then returning home. During the trip he was captured by Algerian pirates. He talked about his experience on “Avventure e osservazioni sulle coste di Barberia“, a tale full of news and curiosity about the costumes of that country. He pleasured not only in Italy. When in 1828 he decided to take part in the competition organized by the Accademia della Crusca with his “Opere in verso e in prosa“, he came seventh (Giacomo Leopardi also came in third position).
Back in Tuscany he did not find any work and dedicated himself to the writing of new works. Returning to Florence, he alternated his life between the villa of Pulicciano and the city. His works were collected in ten volumes in the Florentine edition of 1831. The remaining writings, that is, other epigrams, prose, letters, etc … can be found in a volume called “Opere Minori“. His portrait of “Iconografia Contemporanea” was also published. On 14 September 1837 he died in Florence. It rests beneath the loggia of Santa Croce and the monument reads a plaque in his honor. The poet, one of the famous people of Ronta, appreciates the spicy and lively style. The works of Pananti, one of the famous people of Ronta, which were sought after and praised, are now unknown and rare.