La storia

The origins of the Relais San Clemente date back to its Church and were established as a result of a Papal Bull Relais San Clemente a Perugiafrom Pope Gregory VI in 1045 who called it "Ripa fluminis positam cum omnibus earum pertinentis et adiacentis" (located by the bank of the Tiber with all its grounds and buildings). The Catalogue of Churches published by Mariotti indicates that, on this site known as Passo dell'Acqua, there was a Church devoted to San Clemente ("Ecclesia Santi Clementis justa Tiberim"), that regularly paid its Papal taxes.

It is said that famous visitors such as German Emperor Henry III who came to Italy in 1046 was invited by Roman aristocracy to settle the dispute between Silvester III, Gregory VI and Benedicty IX for the Papal throne. He subsequently deposed the three of them in the synods of Sutri and Rome and he then selected a Pope that he trusted, the German Bishop Suidger from Bamberg. As soon as he was elected as Clemente II, he crowned Henry III Emperor.

Later on a Benedictine Monastery was built around the Church and on 4 February 1331 Federuccio di Guelfone was appointed as a guardian by the Abbot Ugolino di Montevibione of the Benedictine Monastery of San Pietro in Perugia and in 1339 Ser Maffeo from Perugia was appointed Rector. In fact, it was the Abbot of that Monastery who appointed the Rector and the monks who supervised the upkeep of the Church of San Clemente and the cultivation of the surrounding lands in accordance with the Benedictine motto, "Prayer and Work". Historical sources also indicate that under the initiative of the Monastery of San Pietro in Perugia a wooden bridge was built over the Tiber to connect the isolated location with the nearby settlements. In 1437 Pope Niccolò V assigned the Church to Cardinal Orsini; in 1443 Passo dell'Acqua was then transferred under the control of Prior Antonio di Francesco who in turn made it subject to the authority of Don Gigliotto di Giovanni in 1451.

On 11 April 1509 the Abbot Ignazio Manfredi of Florence suppressed the payment of taxes of Passo dell'Acqua. Those years were very turbulent in the Perugia area and in Passo dell'Acqua in particular and we unfortunately have no historical records on the following period until the beginning of 1700. The power of the Baglioni family in the Commune of Perugia diminished and, with the decreasinglevels of freedom, the economic and social conditions worsened. The saving grace was the Salt War (1540) which broke out as a result of a popular uprising against the imposition of a tax on salt by Farnese Pope, Paolo III. Perugia resisted only briefly before she was conquered by Pier Luigi Farnese, the Pope's nephew. The Baglioni palaces were destroyed (an enormous fortress was built on the ruins, the Rocca Paolina), the ancient judiciary was abolished and a Papal governor enforced. For over three centuries Perugia was under the Church's domination. This elegant structure, once completely decorated with frescoes, was used by nobles to get sunshine and to shelter themselves from the wind. There are records that indicate that in 1763 it was seen by the Bishop of Perugia, count Amadei during a pastoral visit to the nearby parish of Pieve Pagliaccia and that he praised the three exceptionally beautiful altars and the delicate and refined interior fresco paintings. In 1875 the entire property was acquired by Francesco Simonetti and his wife Stella Luporini who made it their family home. Along with their children they expanded the agricultural output and renovated the villa. The Church, which remained as a private chapel, was always open for public worship.

Questa elegante struttura un tempo completamente affrescata veniva utilizzata dai nobili per prendere il sole e ripararsi dal vento. Si ha notizia che nel 1763 la Chiesa fu ammirata dal Vescovo di Perugia Conte Amadei durante la visita pastorale alla parrocchia di Pieve Pagliaccia e ne lodò i tre splendidi altari ed i delicati dipinti alle pareti. Nell’anno 1875 tutta la proprietà fu acquistata da Francesco Simonetti e dalla sua sposa Stella Luporini, che ne fecero l’abitazione loro e dei loro figli sviluppandone il complesso agricolo, adornando la villa e la Chiesa che rimase cappella privata ma aperta al culto. Giovanni Simonetti unico erede fondò nel 1915 uno dei primi conservaturifici di pomodoro d’Italia e Jolanda sua moglie si dedicò intensamente alla coltura dei gelsi per la lavorazione della seta e alla cura meticolosa del parco: l’omonima sala dell’albergo era impiegata nella stagione invernale per mettere al riparo dal gelo le piante di limoni. Nel 1985 uno dei nipoti eredi, Giancarlo Simonetti, imprenditore del legno (tutti i pavimenti in legno dell’albergo sono stati prodotti dalla sua fabbrica di parquet) ebbe l’idea ardita e geniale di trasformare la ricca, elegante, artistica villa ed i caseggiati ad essa adiacenti in un Relais che intitolò a San Clemente appunto perché completato dalla spaziosa e artistica Chiesa omonima. Il Relais San Clemente ha aperto i battenti il 25 aprile 1990.