Luciana di Memmi, has been able to crown the dream of her life: returning to her native country: San Gimignano. Her destiny took her to the historical building with the medieval tower, that from 1200 to 1927 was property of the prestigious Useppi family and afterwards of the historical Chigi family from Siena.
The Useppis were powerful family from Siena, owners of many castles. In 1214 they settled in San Gimignano and went to live in the Palazzo with tower Useppi, close to Palazzo del Podestà, in the wonderful Piazza del Duomo. They were political men at the Court of Ladislao King of Hungary and of Bohemia, Knights of the Dragone, and diplomats at the Court of Emperor Ferdinando III. They also were messengers of Granducato di Toscana Ferdinando II.
The family died away and the heirs of the Useppi’s properties were the noble family Chigi-Saracini from Siena. The last representative was the Conte Guido Chigi-Saracini from Siena, worthy of the virtues of his ancestors, patron of the fine arts. The Palazzo Useppi still today contains in its interior paintings, tapestries and sculptures of high artistic value. This is a very beautiful building of medieval architecture with an elegant and particular façade rich of architectural influences from Siena and Pisa. If you are in San Gimignano, you cannot miss a visit to Palazzo Useppi.
As soon as you enter inside the court, left behind the noises of the city coming from the streets and from the country alleys, you feel like in another world. Visiting Torre Chigi Useppi, you will realize that here the time has not passed. You feel like in the Middle Ages with medieval splendours and parties with the ladies dressed up with wonderful Florentine brocade clothes and the long hair embellished with pearls and jewels and with the knights immersed in the spectacular duels that took place in the centres of the main squares, ready to challenge each other with the long lances, riding powerful warhorses.
You can feel the time of the passed splendours even going through the rooms of the building and appearing to the very beautiful twin lancet windows, high and elegant, ready to show the ability of the masters of San Gimignano, who knew how to make decorative elements from very simple materials like the brick and the “carrara” marble. The arches of the twin lancet windows are evident derivations of the architecture of Siena.
The Torre, standing austere, has a façade enriched from narrow windows with curved arch, originally they were small doors to enter the wooden balcony resting on the modillions, where ladies and knights used to adorn with Useppi’s tapestries during the visit of important persons like Dante Alighieri, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Niccolò Machiavelli the important Florentine secretary at the Medici’s Court, the brave Dominican preacher Girolamo Savonarola, the most illustrious Florentine artists like Domenico Ghirlandaio, Benozzo Gozzoli, and many other persons who attended San Gimignano from the past times.