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Anthony Giannini

Anthony (Antonio) Giannini, of Fibbialla, came with Philip Mazzei to Virginia in 1773 with his wife and child. Indentured for five years, he worked in the vineyards and orchards Mazzei established at Colle, adjoining Monticello. Giannini worked for Thomas Jefferson from March 1778 to the end of 1782. Thereafter he was occasionally employed for special skilled tasks.

Some of his activities included collecting seeds for Jefferson's friends in France, planting grape vines in the vineyard, and grafting in the Monticello orchards. Giannini bought land in Albemarle County, where he raised a large family. He has many descendants in the Albemarle area and elsewhere. A number of letters between Jefferson and Giannini survive.

1747June 22Born in Fibbialla near Lucca, Italy
1770Nov. 26Married Maria Domenica Modena
1773Sept. 2Sailed with his wife and child to Virginia, accompanying Philip Mazzei
1773November  Arrived in Virginia
1778March 16Began to work for Jefferson 
1781  Served briefly with the Virginia militia 
1780s  Bought land on Buck Island Creek, Albemarle County 
1790FebruaryOffered to buy Colle but his bid was not accepted 
1792 Petitioned for liberty to build a mill on Buck Island Creek 
1797 Sued Jefferson (as Mazzei's representative) for indemnification for promised return passage to Italy (lost the suit)
1799April 24 Described as having "raised a large family, married several of them, &, after thriving for a while, has become embarrassed, & little esteemed"1
1802May 11 Planted grape vines at Monticello in the South West vineyard
1803March 21 Jefferson paid Giannini 2 dollars for "plants & trouble"; Jefferson also contributed five dollars to a "meetg. house" with which Giannini was involved
1811April 3 Last reference in Jefferson's papers to Giannini, from whom he bought cows and hogs

- Zanne McDonald, Monticello Research Report, April 1994


Primary Source References


  • Jefferson to Giannini, with a List of Seeds Wanted, February 5, 17862
  • Giannini to Jefferson, June 9, 1786 (in Italian)3
  • Giannini to Jefferson, June 21, 1786 (in Italian)4
  • Giannini to Jefferson, February 23, 17925

Memorandum Books

1778 March 16. "Antonio Giannini begins to work @40/ 40 lb. meat a month & a peck flour a week."6

1778 June 22. "Pd. Antony Giannini £3."7

1778 July 16. "Pd. Antony Giannini £3-12."8

1778 August 27. "Pd. Antony Giannini £15."9

1778 November 1. "Pd. Anthony Giannini for a vinegar cask, & his expences to Rockfish for Umbrellas [trees] 12/."10

1778 November 2. "Agreed with Anthony Giannini that he shall serve me one year from the 27th. Inst. I am to give him £50. & find him 15 bushels of wheat & 480 lb. meat, i.e. bacon when we have it. If Mazzei undertakes in writing to pay the expences of his passage to Italy hereafter, I am to stand security for it so long as he is in my service."11

1779 January 14. "Pd. Anthony Giannini £4-10."12

1779 February 6. "Pd. Anthony Giannini £15."13

1779 March 17. "Pd. Anthony Giannini £21."14

1779 April 23. "Pd. Anthony Giannini 30/."15

1779 April 30. "Pd. Anthony Giannini for a hoe 30/."16

1779 September 15. "Pd. Anthony Giannini for trimming chissell 18/."17

1780 November 10. "Pd. Anthony Giannini £90."18

1781 September 10. "Anthony Giannini goes with militia. Lent him £90. = half a dollar specie."19

1781 October 24. "Anthony returns."20

1781 November 13. "A. Giannini goes away."21

1781 November 25. "Recd. of A. Giannini for pork @ 20/ pr. Cent. 38/ hard money."22

1781 December 4. "Gave Anthony Giannini an order for 6. barrels of corn. He sais he has recd. 12 barrels before in part of his wages for 1781. over & above his allowance of a bushel a week."23

1782 January 7. "Pd. A. Giannini for injury to a book 6/."24

1782 May 19. "Gave Anthony Giannini as Committee of Francesco Tommei order on Mrs. Meriwether for 45. galls. whiskey on acct. of Fr. Gaines to whom I am to charge it."25

1782 August 3. "Pd. A. Giannini in part for wax 1/."26

1782 August 19. "Let Gray have a Dutch oven 23/6 A. Giannini do. [ditto] 23/6."27

1782 September 18. "These paiments were for the following purposes ... Anthony Giannini's levy 0–10 ... Anthony Giannini's tax (the whole) 12–3 ...."28

1782 October 13. "Recd. of A. Giannini 17/ in full of all accts. except smith's work & weaving."29

1783 August 16. "The following smith's accts. rendered by R. Gaines & to be charged ... Anthony Giannini. 1782. Feb. 3. to Aug. 22. 0–18–9."30

1786 November 18. "Inclosed to Frediani of Lucca for Anthony Giannini 24f."31

1790 March 1. "Pd. Anthony 26/8 which @ 56/ per month overpays the month 9/4 which he is to work out."32

1791 October 9. "Pd. Anthony in full for inoculatg. &c. 24/."33

1797 November 6. "Note 80 cents of the 60.04 was for tickets in Giannini's suit chargeable to Mazzei."34

1802 May 11. "Pd. Anthony Giannini for planting grape vines from Legaux 1.D."35

1803 March 21. "Pd. Anthony Giannini for plants & trouble 2.D. for meetg. house 5.D."36

1808 December 12. "Gave ord. on bank US. for 105.55 in favr. of Lemaire for Nichs. Hingston assee. of E. Bacon's order in favr. Mrs. Sally Carter for corn bot. of Giannini."37

1809 January 23. "The remittance to Bacon is for the following purposes to pay ... Nichs. Giannini. fodder 11.67."38

1810 December 7. "Gave my note to Anthony Giannini for 40.D. paiable Apr. 15. Gave do. to Francis Giannini for 20.D. paiable Apr. 15. These were for 4. cows and 10. hogs."39

1811 April 3. "Put into the hands of E. Bacon 425.D. to make the following paiments ... Anthony Giannini 40. ante Dec. 7. for cows & hogs. Francis Giannini 20 ...."40

Further Sources


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