The history of Casa Lemmi
Today Casa Lemmi is located in an ancient palace, builded before the Collegiata. We will try to reconstruct the events which the ancients walls watched for centuries, silent witnesses of the alternation of historical events.
From the origines to the Gran Duchy of Tuscany
We can trace the history of Casa Lemmi, home of the Bed & Breakfast Casa Lemmi, back to even before the Cadastral Survey of 1820, commissioned by the grand duke of Tuscany, Leopold II, when it was the
headquarters of the Post Office for the area controlled by the now long gone Nispi family, between the years 1600 and 1800.
The first part of the building to speak to us is the facade, an eloquent testimony to the architectural changes made over the centuries. The presence of Gothic arches of a particular height
and nobility lead us to believe that this was the site of an Imperial Vicariate in the Middle Ages, while the Etruscan ruins found in the garden indicate pre-Roman origins
The frigidarium, found in a cave, together with what remains of a great opening for the production of heat, lead us to imagine an old thermal plant, or a pagan temple. This is also suggested by the spherical dome, cut off at the top, and buffered on both sides, to be found at the top of a staircase dating back to the 1900′s.
- The series of gothic arches and mullioned windows, and the discovery of the classic “eye of God” design, suggest that, after its Imperial use, the building became a seat of the Templars, and then, after the bloody suppression of the order, which has now passed almost into legend, it became the property of a
noble family, probably of Sienese origins.
Perhaps this was the Petrucci family, lords of Siena, as we know that Pandolfo Petrucci died in San Quirico in 1512. Petrucci was fiercely opposed to Cesare Borgia,and had just returned from a trip to Bagni San Filippo before his death.
Other traces (both internal and external) lead us to believe that, before becoming the post office, Casa Lemmi was a Tuscan convent.
A cavallo tra l’Ottocento e il Novecento
In the 1800′s the house passed to the Filugelli family, owners of estates in the Orcia Valley, and then, in the early 1900′s, it was left to Achille Lemmi di Montegabbione, an important businessman in the industrial and agricultural sectors, who passed away before his time in the 1920′s. Since then, having taken the name Casa Lemmi, it has remained a private home, and the headquarters of the agricultural activities of the Lemmi, and later, Lemmi Menesini, families.
During the 1970′s Raffaella Lemmi Menesini undertook the first restoration of the building, giving it back the noble character that had been lost over time, not least due to the damage inflicted during the Second World War.
La Seconda Guerra Mondiale a San Quirico d’Orcia e il dopoguerra
Between 1942 and 1943, many German troops were stationed in Tuscany. By September 1943 they had built up a fortress in San Quirico, based in Pereti, a farmhouse that had been owned by the Menesini Lemmi family, with a battery of artillery that made it impossible for the 5th Army to advance along Via Cassia
Furthermore, in those terrible days that survivors will never forget, Field Marshal Kesserling directed operations for the German forces from Casa Lemmi. This led to a series of allied bombings on Quirico and Casa Lemmi, which suffered extensive damage.
The conflict between the Allies and German troops in Tuscany lasted for several days, in part because the Allied Fifth Army was forced to bear the brunt of German firepower, as they were arriving in San Quirico from Monte Amiata, with the German defence at their backs.
At this point the battle raged white hot, as both armies found themselves between Pienza and San Quirico, facing each other, and engaging in a face-to-face duel.
After the war, the reconstruction of the agricultural business, and the restoration of Casa Lemmi, proved to be as arduous as it was fast. A third of Casa Lemmi, to the right, had taken a direct hit from an allied bomb, so the ruins were sold to finance the resumption of work in the fields. In its place a concrete building was built, the attractiveness of which was open to question, while what remained of Casa Lemmi was adapted to host the Menesini Lemmi family, their workers, and the management of agricultural activities.
The Menesini Lemmi family was deeply committed to raising funds for the purchase of more sophisticated agricultural equipment for the Orcia Valley, and transformed what had been an old fashioned business based on sharecropping into a model modern farm, managed by skilled workers, concentrating on the cultivation of wheat, alfalfa, and other seeds, to the improvement of the Tuscan fields.
Raffaella Menesini Lemmi, this extraordinary figure of a courageous and intelligent woman, passed away in 1999, on the eve of the new millennium. The agricultural business, known as Le Briccola, was sold shortly thereafter. The current generation of the family continue to live in Casa Lemmi and run Bed & Breakfast Casa Lemmi, dedicated to the best hospitality and accommodation Tuscany has to offer.