Heritage | Tourist route H002

Palma Patios. Old Town I: the area around the cathedral

What is it?

They are so beautiful, calm and unique that they have come to the attention of many writers and historians who, like Archduke Ludwig Salvator, Jules Verne or Josep Pla, have visited Palma from time to time.  The patios of the mansions in the old town have become one of the most attractive and characteristic parts of the town's architecture.  These are spaces where neighbours met and socialised.  They were also a symbol of each family's standing.  This route takes us to the most beautiful patios of the island's noble families who lived in the vicinity of the town's majestic cathedral.


Length: 2 hours

Location and contact:

Start point: Plaça de Cort. 07001 Palma

Telephone: +34 902 102 365. Service times: 09.00 to 20.00

Web site: www.balearsculturaltour.net

E-mail: palmainfo@palma.es

Available public transport

 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
Monday to Friday

Public Transport

Detailed description

The 14 patios on this route are as follows:

01. Can Mesquida

This is a Baroque house rebuilt on medieval foundations.  In 1576 it was owned by the Sureda Sanglada family and in 1818 the house was owned by Maria Josepa Mesquida.  It has a voussoired arched doorway, widened at the bottom with kerb stones to let carriages through.  The roof of the entrance is divided into two parts with a low arch in the middle.  At the back, to the left, the staircase rises.

02. Can Oms – Town Council Office of Culture

A house occupied by the Oms family in 1642.  Their coat of arms can be seen on the staircase balcony.  The patio is the result of renovations in the 18th Century.  The Gothic doorway on the left of the entrance has the Armadans coat of arms which came from the medieval house of the family, which still exists, in the Carrer de Can Sanç.

03. Can Bordils – Municipal Archive

A medieval house rebuilt in the 16th Century by the Sureda family, whose coat of arms can be seen in the windows of the studies and in various places around the patio.  The patio, probably 17th Century, was renovated in the 19th Century and definitively modified by the architect Guillermo Fortesa in 1941, when the staircase was designed.  It was restored to its original look during the project by architect Miquel Vicens to house the Palma Municipal Archive.

04. Can Crespí

This mansion is 18th Century.  In 1818 it was owned by Antònia Tries and then went on to be owned by the Crespí from Santa Maria.  For many years Rosa Ribera Carbonell (1834-1924) lived here.  She was the widow of the soldier Miquel Villalonga Gelabert, who was the writer Llorenç Villalonga's great uncle.  It is thought that she was the inspiration for Obdúlia Montcada, the leading character in Villalonga's novel Mort de Dama (Death of a lady).

05. Can Caulelles (Can Ferragut)

The house was built in the 16th Century by Joanot de Caulelles.  The doorway is a semi-circular archway and goes into the entrance hall which has a stairway on the right with a door to the study.  A low arch gives access to the patio.  The Caulelles coat of arms can be seen on the capitals.  At the back of the patio there is a striking ceramic mural by the artist Castaldo.

06. Can Alemany

A 17th Century building with a patio that is a curious mix of elements from different eras: Gothic staircase, pre-18th Century octagonal columns and a 19th Century gallery.  It was the house of the historian, Jaume Joan Alemany i Moragues (1693-1753), who wrote a history of Majorca.

07. Estudi General Lul•lià

The origin of this building is linked to the creation of the Llulian University of Majorca.  In the 17th Century, the Llulian General Study Centre became the Llulian University of Majorca.  The current construction, a project by the architect Gabriel Alomar, replaced the previous one in 1950.  The patio is Neo-Baroque, porticoed and has rounded arches on Ionic columns.  Another highlight, on the main floor, are the windows with fanlights and mullions.

08. Can Salas (Can Jordà)

In the 16th Century this mansion belonged to the Desclapers family.  It is a 15th Century Gothic building which was later rebuilt.  The patio is on the left of the third covered section, with a central, traditionally Gothic octagonal pillar which supports two low arches and beams supported by cordels.  Further to the left we can see the 1929 regionalist-style staircase and gallery.

09. Ca la Gran Cristiana – Museum of Majorca

Originally a Gothic building rebuilt by the first Count of Aiamans (17th C).  The house of the Togores family (17th and 18th C) and Villalonga-Desbrull (18th and 19th C).  The coat of arms of the seventh Count of Aiamans is on the façade.  It gets its name from Catalina Zaforteza i de Togores, an eminent figure in Majorcan Carlism considered to be a devout Christian.  It was acquired in 1968 to house the Museum of Majorca.

10. Can Morey-Santmartí - J. Torrents Lladó Museum

The house that holds the painter Joaquim Torrents Lladó's museum was the medieval house of the Montsó family, which was succeeded by the Valentí ses Torres family.  In 1818 it belonged to Joan Burguès Safortesa and a little later on passed to the Morey-Santmartí family.  At the beginning of the 20th Century it was owned by Antoni Marquès Luigi.  His heirs sold the house to Joaquim Torrents Lladó in 1973 and it became the painter's residence and studio.

11. Cal Marquès de la Torre (Ca la Torre) – Architects' Association

The building was ordered by Francesc Truyols i Font de Roqueta in 1696 using drawings by the engineer Martín Gil de Gainza, a Navarran who had come to Majorca to work on construction of the town walls.  The elliptical staircase is 19th Century.  It takes its name from the title of Marquis de la Torre granted to Nicolau Truyols i Dameto by Archduke Carlos, pretender to the Spanish throne during the War of Succession.

12. Can Frontera - Hotel de Ca sa Galesa

Originally Gothic in style, this house underwent major architectural work in the first half of the 20th Century by its owner, the engineer Joan Frontera Estelrich, who gave it an air that was more in line with the local modernist look.  A few years ago the house was converted into a hotel.  A notable feature of the patio is the staircase which goes up from the one side of the entrance arch.

13. Can Olesa

Patio built at the end of the 17th Century which combines all the elements that would later make up all the patios in the houses in Palma: very low arches that lighten the structure, the gallery allowing movement between the more everyday part of the house to the more formal rooms, the pronounced Ionic columns and the forged iron banister.  The success of the combination created a trend for renovation the 18th Century.

14. Can Ordines d'Almadrà

The matrimonial coats of arms of the Vivot and Santjoan families stand out in this patio, along with the late Gothic door that leads to one of the house's studies.  We can see one of the finest examples of sculptures in this style in Majorca here.  It was extensively rebuilt in the middle of the 20th Century.  A Roman tombstone was found during the works which can be seen on the wall under the staircase.


As walk along the old town wall (Dalt Murada) and the Hort del Rei gardens is highly recommended.  The area is also very lively and has thriving shops.  The restaurants near to the fishermen's wharf are ideal for eating fresh fish and seafood.

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