Heritage | Tourist route H003

The patios of Palma. Old Town II: the area around Sant Francesc and Monti-sion

What is it?

The description of town mansions coincides, with very few variations, with the description by the architect Guillem Reynés in 1918: A rounded archway leads to a spacious entrance hall with a central patio from which the staircase rises.  With slight variations, the passages surrounding the patios are supported by arches, and in the layout of the staircases, where there is huge variety within unity of design, and the indispensible galleried landing which gives access to the floor with a door on each side.  A mezzanine for studies and a porch for storeroom and hanging washing complete our mansions' services.  It is always in the same Roman tradition around a patio.  These Roman origins, directly arising from the Mediterranean climate and environment, are also influenced by the traditional Islamic house around a patio and Catalan 13th and 14th Century medieval houses.  Over time the patio consolidated its central position, which joined the four wings of the house, allowed light in and water to be collected, and gave a space for socialising and aesthetics following latest fashion.

So Gothic-style patios are intimate, they are relatively small with straight or right-angled staircases, with sculpted banisters and fretwork panels.  The patios have pointed or ogee arches and the typical "finestres coronelles" (pairs of windows divided by a column).  Then they are enriched with renaissance elements, particularly with windows and study doors decorated with grotesques.  However, the apotheosis of the town patio arrived with the Baroque era, in the 17th and 18th Century, with scenic spaces, sometimes rather sumptuous, presided over by twisted shaft columns and galleries with heraldic motifs and imperial staircases.


Length: 2 hours

Location and contact:

Start Point: Plaça Major. 07002 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

There are 12 patios on this route:

01. Can Vivot

Rebuilt around 1725 by Joan Sureda i Villalonga, the first Marquis of Vivot, on medieval foundations.  The Sureda family house since the 18th Century and, before that, the Villalonga family.  The patio was part of general renovation of the building managed by the Valencian, Jaume d'Espinosa.  The entrance is compacted earth and has columns with "entasis" (slightly curved) and Corinthian capitals.  The gallery has three archways.  There is an arch with inverted pyramid-shaped pillars at the bottom of the staircase.

02. Can Escafí

In 1576 this was owned by the heirs of Pere Sampol.  In 1685 it belonged to the heirs of the Presbyterian Josep Morales.  In 1818, Marià Fuster and later it passed to the Escafí family.  An entrance with a beamed roof gives way to an open patio through a semi-circular archway.  The patio's staircase, which has a fine iron banister, is on the left-hand side and the coach houses are at the back.

03. Can Ribas de Pina

This house was bought by Miquel Ribas de Pina i Ferrà in 1718.  He embarked on a series of alterations and added the porch to the building, which has columns and wooden beams, blocked up the Gothic windows on the façade and the patio was renovated keeping the 17th Century patio style.

04. Can Ripoll

A lintelled doorway gives way to the entrance, with a beamed roof.  The patio has a staircase at the back.  It still has Gothic remains, such as a "finestra coronella" (a pair of windows divided by a column) and an ogee window which open onto the patio from the first floor.  The house also has beamed roofs supported by corbels.  It was largely rebuilt in the 19th Century.  More recently it belonged to the Picorelli and, currently, to the Ripoll family.

05. Can Fiol – Sans Theatre

This is a house of Gothic origin and retains interesting remnants of the style, such as the medieval ribbed squinch and the heraldic motifs in the patio.   According to the 1818 declaration of boundaries it belonged to the Presbyterian, Joan Busquets.  In the first third of the 20th Century it housed the headquarters of the local Radical Republican Party committee.  In the 20th Century it belonged to the Fiol family.  It has been the Sans Theatre since 1984.

06. Cal comte de la Cova – School of Tourism ("Escola Superior de Turisme")

In the 17th Century this house belonged to the Villalonga family and specifically to Francesc de Villalonga i Fortuny who was granted the title of Count of la Cova by King Felipe IV, which is where the house's name comes from.  The staircase, with its late Gothic tracery, and the 14th Century polychrome wooden ceiling which covers the entire ground floor of the building are highlights of this house.  It was recently renovated by the School of Tourism.

07. La Criança

A 16th Century building that housed La Criança, an institution founded by Canon Antoni Genovard to educate the daughters of the well-to-do and, after its foundation, was later run by Sister Isabel Cifre.  The patio's octagonal pillars are noteworthy.

08. Can Lladó

A medieval mansion owned by the Balaguer del Racó family.  In 1928 it was bought by the historian Jaume Lladó i Ferragut.  It has a trapezoidal patio with a coffered entrance that opens through a lintel archway.  At the back the staircase rises in two flights.

09. Can Alcover

This was the house of the poet Joan Alcover i Maspons, who was born in Palma in 1854 and lived in the mansion as a boy and died here on 26 February 1926.  For many years Alcover organised literary and cultural gatherings in his house that became a must for the artistic world at the end of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th.

10. Ca l'arquitecte Alomar

The house, which belonged to the architect Gabriel Alomar i Esteve and is now owned by his heirs, has a fascinating garden which is entered through a passageway under Can Castelló.  The garden, at the back, is enclosed by the northern façade of the houses while to the south are the surrounding walls.

11. Can Dusai, 4

This is currently an architect's studio.  The gateway is a modern, segmented arch.  The entrance has a modern floor made from small pebbles and a beamed ceiling with two transversal main beams.  To the left there is an old pointed arch, in the medieval style.  A low arch leads to the patio, with the staircase at the back.

12. La Puresa (Can Desclapers)

From the 15th Century onwards this was owned by the Desclapers.  In 1814 the house was inherited by Francesc Rossinyol de Sagranada i Desclapers who sold it to Bishop Bernat Nadal, who turned it into the Puresa de Maria Santíssima school for girls (founded in 1809 in the Carrer de la Pau), which was reorganised in 1870 by Cayetana Alberta Giménez, Mother Alberta.

The Basilica of Sant Francesc and its cloister are a must see while doing this route.  It is a fabulous piece of architecture.  The sepulchre of Ramon Llull can be found in one of its chapels.

A walk along the old town wall (Dalt Murada) and the Hort del Rei gardens is also recommended.  You can also go shopping, enjoy the lively area and eat fresh fish and seafood in the restaurants near to the fishermen's wharf.

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