Built in 1744 for the Sergardi family, the palace was designed by the Sienese architect Paolo Posi. In the 18th Century, Siena underwent great architectural changes as many of the noble families built palaces along two main streets: Via dei Banchi di Sopra/Via Montanini and Via dei Banchi di Sotto/Via Pantaneto.
In this period, Siena was particularly open to stylistic influence from Rome. Posi worked in Rome as well, and built two of the most important buildings in Siena at the time: Palazzo Sergardi and Palazzo De Vecchi. To build Palazzo Sergardi, Posi brought together buildings that were already present on this land, probably a convent.
In the restructuring of Posi a new building, bought by Fabio Sergardi in 1703, was annexed and ended up accommodating the “Scuderia del Palazzo” on the ground floor. Today, divided into three naves, the old stables are used as a suggestive exhibition space.
In the same period, an intimate private chapel was built on the noble floor, where even today the marriages of the family members are celebrated. This prestigious space was decorated with stuccoes and frescoed with mythological subjects by Luigi Ademollo in 1794/95. Ademollo also designed the mosaics for the floors. Some of the rooms still feature the original furnishings, mirrors, and wooden doors.
Ludovico Sergardi (Quinto Settano)
On the facade of Palazzo Sergardi, there is a plaque dedicated to Ludovico Sergardi, born in 1660 and known in the literary Accademia dell’Arcadia as “Quinto Settano”.
The Sergardi family had important ties with the Roman Curia and thus Ludovico was sent by his family to Rome to complete his studies in law and begin an ecclesiastical career.
He was “decano” (dean) in the Sacra Consulta and Prefect of the Factory of Saint Peter. His most important work, the Satires, published in 1694, dealt with the theme of moral criticism of the habits of his contemporaries. His witty intelligence made him popular not only in the Pope’s court, but also with Roman nobility, where he promoted Sienese culture and knowledge.
Margarita Sergardi – il Piccolo Teatro
The “Piccolo Teatro” was the creation of Baroness Marga Sergardi Marmoross (1919 – 2011).
This noblewoman brought to Siena and Palazzo Sergardi the theatrical experience she had created in her youth, just outside Siena in the garden of Villa di Catignano, her family’s homestead.
Before World War II, Marga Sergardi taught the farmworkers’ children how to act, and wrote and directed plays with the children. She called the group the “Company of the Rooster of Catignano” and they performed fables, myths and stories that the little Baroness composed herself.
During the war, the theatrical activity ceased. But in the early 1950s, the Baroness moved her activity to Palazzo Sergardi and started an acting school at the Piccolo Teatro.
It was inaugurated by Paolo Grassi, and availed itself of the collaboration of Florentine Carlo Francini. Many generations of young people in Siena have studied and learned the art of theater, theater design and dance here. Expert seamstresses helped make over 400 costumes that may today be admired in some rooms of the palace. Marga Sergardi taught theater arts at the University of Bologna, at the Academy of fine Arts in Florence, and in Siena. She was a prolific playwright and poet and wrote essays about theater. She received many literary prizes and distinctions, including the “Mangia d’oro” in 1990, the greatest honor that Siena bestows on its illustrious citizens.