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History

Messer Francesco Saverio established the Carletti’s as one of Montepulciano’s most important families in 1699. Francesco Saverio’s son, Mariotto Carletti, was decorated with the personal title of Count Palatine by Pope Clement XII with the Brief of December 11, 1733, and obtained his and the family’s inscription in the Libro d’Oro of the nobles of Montepulciano with the decree of January 18, 1762.

The family’s coat of arms is light blue with a gold band with a six-pointed gold star at the top and an upturned crescent moon at the bottom. Its place of residence is Montepulciano.

But the most famous member of the Carletti family was undoubtedly Count Francesco Saverio who, in the late 1700s, negotiated and signed with the French Directory a pact of neutrality and friendship between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and France. A lover of life, careerist and pleasure-seeker, always looking to form important friendships like the one with the Countess of Albany, or grant favors, like the ones to his friend Vittorio Alfieri. He experienced great fame and… a sudden downfall, fleeing and losing most of his possessions for being too daring at the complex gaming table of European politics in the late 1700s. A very Italian story that, in many ways, is almost a real-life parable of the ups and downs of life.

At the end of the second half of the 19th century, on September 10, 1888 to be exact, the Palazzo came into possession of the Nerazzini family following the marriage between Cesare Nerazzini and Egle. It was here that Cesare Nerazzini – a remarkable doctor and diplomat who, almost a century after Carletti, negotiated with the Negus on behalf of Italy following the bloody and dramatic battle of Adua in which the Ethiopians had defeated the Italians – lived the final part of his life.

In a sense, Nerazzini represented a different side to the Italian character and soul. A fine scholar and avid traveler whose in-depth knowledge of distant seas and lands certainly made him the leading Italian expert, at that time, on African culture and saw him end his career as consul of Italy in Shanghai. A very complex character: certainly a lover of mankind as a doctor (he actually promoted the first attempt to create a kind of health system in areas of Italian interest), at the same time he experienced all the contradictions and horrors of the colonialist period even though he was one of the few people at the time able to look around and judge events through different lenses.

In the 1930s the Palazzo was divided up and the piano nobile became an office: firstly belonging to the Val di Chiana Land Reclamation Consortium (one of the most complex reclamations in Italy with a fascinating history and testimonies ranging from the Etruscans through to the projects of Leonardo Da Vinci himself and the great works of the 1700s and 1800s) and later the historic headquarters of the Italian Communist Party of Montepulciano.

Maintenance and restoration work began on the piano nobile in 2008 and frescoes attributable to Pozzo (who worked prolifically in Montepulciano and the immediate vicinity) and his collaborators, which had been hidden by heavy false ceilings and forgotten about for decades, were discovered in all of what would become the bedrooms. The 18th century hall, one of the very few of this size (10 m x 8 m x 6.2 m high), painted and frescoed in its entirety, and all the rooms were therefore restored using processes and materials respectful of local history and traditions.