A royal estate in Tuscany

A royal estate in Tuscany

The Corsini estate, Villa Le Corti, sits atop a hillside outside Florence, in the Tuscan wine region of Chianti, on land Princess Giorgiana Corsini's family has owned since the 1300s. 

Principessa Corsini, along with her husband Filippo, heads the family now.

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The Villa Le Corti sits high atop a hillside in Chianti's wine region, on land Princess Giorgiana Corsini's family has owned since the 1300s. CBS News

Merchants and bankers for more than 600 years, the Corsinis built much of their fortune during the Renaissance – a fortune largely devoted to preserving the art and architecture of Florence.

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Principessa Giorgiana Corsini. CBS News

"They thought that art was really the good and important universal message, and the message that could survive for generations and generations," Giorgiana said.

Royalty has been in the family since 1730, when Lorenzo Corsini was elected Pope Clement XII at age 78, creating the official royal bloodline. He's best known for commissioning the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

But for more than a century, Villa Le Corti was left to sit empty, and time took its toll.  

The princess decided to bring the house and ancient winery back to life – for her son, Prince Duccio, and his family.

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Prince Duccio with Jane Pauley. CBS News

Today, one of Italy's historical treasures sits behind the villa's walls.

Spread throughout 11 rooms, in an untouched part of the house, virtually every piece of paper ever recorded by the Corsinis dating back to 1020 – wills, love letters, even receipts, preserved for history.  

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The family archives of the Corsinis, dating back one thousand years. CBS News

"It's our family's history; it is the history of Italy," said Prince Duccio.

The rich family legacy of one of Italy's richest families, under one Tuscan roof.

      
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Story produced by Jon Carras.