History

Origins

The origins of La Suvera go back to the High Middle Ages when the building was a fortified castle situated in the territory of the Sienna Signoria, in the Fief of the legendary Countess Ava Matilda de’ Franzosi, related to Clovis, the King of France, also known as the “Queen of Montemaggio”.

It is quite possible that we owe to her the name La Suvera, a word deriving from the French word “Souveraine”, meaning Sovereign. This county reached its greatest heights during the times of the powerful Ardengheschi family, Longobards descended from Ardengo, palatine count to Charlemagne. Later La Suvera passed to other fiefdoms and occasionally fell on less fortuitous times, until it came to the Chigi family, finally being gifted, almost certainly in return for favours or indulgences, by Pandolfo Petrucci, of Sienna’s Signoria, to Pope Giuliano della Rovere, who has passed into history as Pope Julius.

Julius II was a typically Renaissance man, a politician and brave warrior but at the same time a passionate lover of the arts in all its many expressions. During his long and prolific life he was a munificent patron of the arts, a protector and sponsor of artists of the calibre of Raffaello, Michelangelo and Bramante. We owe to him the frescoes in the rooms of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and the new project of St Peter’s Basilica, as well as many other wonderful works of art. We also owe the great architectural transformation of La Suvera to him, as he entrusted the famous Siennese architect and genius Petruzzi with the task of mitigating the severe Medieval style of the ancient fortress with sumptuous Renaissance taste. So Petruzzi refined the building, joining the two original towers by means of a transept. The addition of a double portico and loggia completed his work, turning it into a splendid Renaissance villa still to be admired today as it was then.

La Suvera was not simply one of the personal properties of the Pope, it was also the place Julius II retired to every now and again for a little rest far from Rome, the place he attributed his origins to by way of the supposed link with the Counts Ghiandaroni from Sienna, finally conferring noble lineage on his family of plebian origins.

La Suvera passed down the line from Julius II to his descendants, the Della Rovere family. From Julius’ nephew, Niccolò della Rovere, it then returned to the Sienna banking family, the Chigis. Marriage, inheritance and acquisition caused it to pass through the hands of a number of prestigious Siennese and Roman families until it reached the current owners, the Marquises Ricci, who as the notary records of Sienna testify, had already owned La Suvera way back in 1123. In recent times Marquis Giuseppe Ricci Paracciani and his wife Princess Eleonora Massimo have been responsible for turning their private mansion home into an entirely unique Relais, for the pleasre of guests seeking an authentic, meaningful experience where the fusion of the ancient Borgo’s history and the stories surrounding their illustrious ancestors are immediately apparent in their own setting, in the unusual living Museum on the first floor or Piano Nobile of the Papal Villa and in the furnishings of the historical suites and rooms.