Cordoba really lives up to its nickname in May during the Córdoba Patios Festival, one of the most anticipated events in Spain when city residents decorate their homes and surrounding areas with pots of fresh flowers. Cordoba literally opens its courtyards, alleyways, balconies, corners, and patios to the public, making the entire city a visual feast of floral pleasures.
But if you miss the festival, don’t fret. There is a place where you can still get your floral fix and visit some of Cordoba’s most beautiful and historical patios all year long: the Palacio de Viana.
Inside the Palacio
From the outside, the façade of the Palacio de Viana isn’t very impressive but it remains one of the most important stately homes in Spain. Step through the doors, and it’s a trip back in time.
The Renaissance palace is really a five-century mishmash of architectural styles. A grand, private house that’s been added to over generations, by the noble Spanish Viana family that live here from 1425 until the 1980s. What that means is 500 years of furniture and décor, art work, leather, tiles, books, fabric and wall coverings, chandeliers, and more, all there in still life, like a frozen portrait of times gone by.
Palacio de Viana first opened its doors to the public in 1981 and for visitors is a fascinating look into the lifestyle of privileged Spanish nobility over five centuries.
Patio de los Naranjos
After you’ve strolled through 500 years of Spanish noble history inside the palace, move outside where each of the 12 patios has a distinct style, look and feel. Take your time to wander slowly. Among the dozen are the Patio de los Naranjos (Orange Tree Courtyard), so name for the orange trees in the middle of the patio. Come March and April their blossoms fill the courtyard with a lovely scent. Inside the intimate Patio de la Madama (Lady’s Patio) is a statue of a nymph, while the Patio del Pozo (Courtyard of the Well) houses—you guessed it—a well, along with some vibrant bougainvillea. The Patio de Columnas (Courtyard of the Columns) is the newest of the palace’s patios, added in the 1980s, and often hosts special events.
.Around the Palace gardens you’ll find no less than 80 species of plants and trees in the gardens and courtyards, all cared for by an expert gardening team.
Look for the stately holm oak in the garden, which is more 400 years old.
Patio de las Rejas
When Luis Gómez de Figueroa y Córdoba, the second lord of Villaseca and María de Guzmán y Argote married in 1571, their elevated social status sparked a desire to build an impressive entrance to the palace, which resulted in the construction of the Patio de Recibo (Reception Courtyard), added in the 16th century.
Enjoy flower filled patios all year long at Palacio de Viana
Fausto Saavedra y Collado, and his wife Sofía Amelia de Lancarter y Bleck, inherited the home in the early 1900s and transformed it into more or less what you see today. They also brought many of their works of art and furnishings from their palace in Madrid.vAfter the death of Fausto in 1980, Sofia became the heir.
She sold the palace to Caja Provincial de Ahorros de Córdoba in 1980. It became a museum a year later, and she died in 1982.
BeSeeingYou In: Cordoba
Good to know: Visiting days and hours vary by season, so check ahead.
WOW! Factor: When the world-famous Córdoba Patio Festival is on, entrance to the Palacio de Viana is free.
Tip: You can just visit the patios, without visiting the palace interior, but both are worth it.
Author bio: Rachel Webb