« Mi infancia son recuerdos de un patio de Sevilla y un huerto claro donde madura el limonero. »
(Campos de Castilla 1912)
Antonio Machado, one of the greatest Spanish poets, was born in the House of Alba (La Casa de Alba) in the lemon courtyard (el Patio del Limonero).
Seville is a city where you can visit some of the most important palaces from Spain. And for a couple of months you now have the opportunity to visit the most famous Palace of the city: the Palace of the Dukes of Alba (Palacio de las Dueñas), currently belonging to the House of Alba (La Casa de Alba). Dueñas was built in the late 15th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences.
Dueñas became a national monument, now a Heritage of Cultural Interest (Bien de Interés Cultural), on June 3, 1931, and is the best example of historical Seville architecture. The Palace is named after the Monastery of Santa Maria de las Dueñas, placed in the adjoining plot and demolished in 1868.
The House of Alba is a prominent Spanish aristocratic family, dating back to la Corona de Castilla, linked to the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Portugal. Its most prominent member was Duque of Alba III, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, Captain General of the Armies of Flanders and confidant of Carlos V and Felipe II.
After the death of Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, her son, the current Duke of Alba, decided to open the Palace’s ground floor and the gardens to the public, reserving the upper floor as a residence. The XVIII Duchess of Alba was a beloved figure in Seville, the city where she spent most of her time.
The entry door is of Mudejar style. The palace was fitted with eleven patios, nine fountains, and over 100 marble columns. At the entrance to the Palace, in the main arch there is the shield of the Duchy of Alba, crafted in Seville tile manufactured in the 17th century. Behind the garden at the entrance you can find a courtyard surrounded by arches with white marble columns and pilasters.
The arch situated west of the courtyard in the lower galleries gives access to the building that was used as the chapel palace. The main altar of the chapel contains several tiles with metallic reflections, typical of 16th century Seville ceramics.
Another of its main attractions is a large, decorative art collection that contains 1,425 artefacts. There is a large collection of Spanish paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, but also a significant collection of antique furniture, ceramics, and tapestries.
You can visit the 1900m2 of courtyards, gardens and interiors of Dueñas, whose walls and artwork reflect more than 500 years of Seville history in more or less one hour. More info: here.