Ritratto della famiglia di Torello Calvani
account_circleHistorical personalities

Torello Calvani discovers the American prairies

Immigrant finds happy ending


Torello Calvani was the son of a stonecutter from the hamlet of Canapale near Pistoia; his destiny appeared deeply linked to the dust of the quarries and the fatalistic acceptance of the difficulties that characterized the life of a stonecutter. His dreams for a better life became a reality, when Torello signed a contract with a wealthy Swiss business man who commissioned him to move to New Mexico to farm and raise pigs. The year was 1892.Torello left from Genoa, embarking on a 13-day trip. He traveled in third class, facing poor conditions and a scarce food supply. Upon his arrival in New York, Calvani took a train to New Mexico.

When his contract with the Swiss businessman expired, Torello rented his first farm from the United States government and married Ersilia Grandi, from Bologna. Together they had ten children. Torello’s brother, Raffaello, also immigrated to the United States, and the two were able to expand their company, buying tools and investing in an advanced irrigation system. Tobacco and cotton soon substituted corn and grain crops, while cattle breeding remained a lucrative side-business for the farm. In 1909, Torella bought his first farm. Today, the Calvani family owns 130 acres of land that stretches for 526 square kilometers (almost double Pistoia’s municipal territory).

A town rich in history and beauty
Collodi, like all towns which are in a strategic geographical position, has had a very troubled history. The town’s history has been marked by events revolving around the Garzoni family. They were part of the Ghibelline family, and therefore historic enemies of the Florentine Guelfs. ...