El Palacio de las Dueñas
In Gravina51 we want to thank all those guests who decided to rebook their stays, cancelled due to the COVID outbreak. We are very grateful for your trust!
For all of them, we will offer free tickets to visit the amazing Palacio de Dueñas. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Today we want to bring you a straightforward post to convince you why visiting the Palacio de las Dueñas, located in the historic center of Seville, is worth visiting too compared to other more established options. Seville is a city full of palaces and mansions, most of them open to the public and serving as a window to the aristocratic world through the centuries and ages. Of course, most of us think of the Reales Alcázares and its breathtaking ceramic gardens, golden halls, and the remarkable artistic heritage hidden within the walls. However, in Seville, some mansions such as the Casa Pilatos or the Palacio de las Dueñas itself are becoming more attractive during social distancing, due to the robust safety measures taken and its slighter visitor-capacity. These are more homey choices, but no less involved with Seville's history.
The Palacio de las Dueñas belongs to the Casa De Alba, whose coat of arms welcomes visitors, showing itself proudly in the entrance arch. The inhabitants of the palace have starred in both tabloids and history books. From the lives of the children of Hernán Cortés -who led Mexico's Spanish conquest- the wedding of Américo Vespucio -the continent is named after this relevant Italian character- and the childhood of Antonio Machado -excellent Andalusian poet- everything is collected inside the palace's walls. In 1913 Machado would write in his autobiographical letters that the house's internal architecture where he was born, its patios and roofs, have left a profound impression on his spirit.
We have also visited it. We must confirm that the fragrance of the famous orchard where the lemon tree ripens, the freshness of the garden fountains, the immensity of the centuries-old objects that decorate the details of the inside rooms... surround the tourist with an enchanted atmosphere that seems to carry you through time.
The Palacio de las Dueñas was built in the late 15th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences. These transformations have increased its space and majesty, satisfying the desires of the household through time. Some outstanding highlights are the stunning botanical garden with plants from all over the world (we were especially impressed with the height that bamboo reaches), an intimate Christian chapel, or its own flamenco tablao parties.
The latest restorations were carried out by Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, XVIII Duchess De Alba de Tormes. Her contributions and donations to the city of Seville until her passing in 2014 led the Duchess to become an essential social symbol. She was also a direct descendant of King James II of England. She held the most significant amount of legally recognized titles in the world and the highest noble dignity of the Kingdom of Spain. Hence, the Duchess's favor led her to give beautiful yet controversial receptions in the palace. Besides, due to her interest in the Arts and in promoting Sevilla, Cayetana attracted several personalities to our city, like Audrey Hepburn or Jacky Kennedy -who painted an adorable watercolor of the Palacio de las Dueñas, nowadays exhibited inside. The Duchess heritage has already been recognized in many parts of Sevilla, including a lovely statue in the gardens near Puerta Jerez. Since 1931, the mansion has been considered an Asset of Cultural Interest or "Bien de Interés Cultural." Her son, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart and Martínez de Irujo, XIX, and current Duke De Alba de Tormes authorized visits to the palace in 2016.
Sevillians and visitors have been able to admire treasures until then hidden in its 9000 square meters: its collection of paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and furniture that decorate the rooms, one next to the other, without any correlation in time. An independent and unique blend of cultural tradition, including traditional flamenco clothes and the attire of prestigious bullfighters, as well as posters of past April Fairs that guide us through the most authentic Seville. The pictorial exhibition is composed of masterpieces from the Italian and Spanish schools from the 15th century to the present. The most extraordinary is, among others, the Santa Catalina de Siena altarpiece by Neri di Bicci or The Coronation of Thorns by José de Ribera, displayed in the antechapel of the palace.
However, what strikes us the most about the Palacio de las Dueñas and the main reason we cannot but recommend your visit is the life that the palace overflows. This is no lifeless, sluggish tour. Despite being the mansion a showcase of mastery, it continues to be breathing, owned by the descendants of the Casa De Alba. Although they do not usually walk through the lower floors open to the public during visiting hours, one can always be surprised by how detailed everything is, revealing the transition of the family until today. The Palacio de las Dueñas is a house, after all. Therefore, we invite you to include it in your plans in Seville as there is no better opportunity to immerse yourself in the city's dynamics hundreds of years ago and right now.
We will be in the comments section, answering any questions or suggestions and, of course, at the Gravina 51 hotel. We work to provide you with a unique, personal experience in Seville, bringing you closer to our culture and discovering the secrets of the Andalusian capital. Furthermore, you can communicate with us via our social media, where we publish fresh ideas every week to enjoy your visit to Seville, adapted to the latest security measures.
We hope to see you again very soon!