Palacio de Las Dueñas
Gallery, Historic Building and Palace in Seville
Palacio de las Dueñas is a 15th-century palace in Seville, Spain, currently belonging to the House of Alba. It was the favorite home of one of Spain’s most famous aristocrats, the late Duchess de Alba, who died in 2014. Although she owned mansions, palaces and castles all over Spain, she was happiest in her home in Casa de las Dueñas. The house is now owned by her eldest son, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 19th Duke of Alba, who officially opened it to the public in March 2016.
Famous visitors to the palace included Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.
What to see in the Palacio de Las Dueñas
The palace consists of a series of courtyards and buildings. The style ranges from Gothic art-Moorish to the Renaissance, with local influences in the bricks, shingles, tiles, whitewashed walls and pottery.
The Main Entrance and front garden of the Palacio de Las Dueñas
There is a very impressive Neoclassical arch leading to the front garden.
Look out for:
- The seventeenth-century tile depicting the shield of the Duchy of Alba above the main entrance, made by Triana of Sevile.
- When in the front garden look for the apeadero, a typical feature of all grand houses, where visitors would have alighted from their carriages.
The Central courtyard of the Palacio de Las Dueñas
The main palace is essentially Renaissance, and built around three sides of the central courtyard (the fourth side giving onto the gardens), with additional wings and courtyards, and surrounded by gardens and outbuildings. The main courtyard of Las Dueñas is one of the most outstanding Seville Moorish works of art. This is built on two floors in the Gothic-Mudejar style with the typical columns, arches and decorative plaster work of the period. Arranged around the courtyard on the ground floor are a number of rooms that traditionally formed the public part of a late medieval palace.
Look out for:
- The main staircase which is adorned with tapestries and with an outstanding ornate coffered wood ceiling
- A tile with a poem by Antonio Machado pays tribute to the Spanish poet: “The poet Antonio Machado was born in this house in July 1875. He does not forget it in his verses:
This light from Seville is the palace where I was born with its rumor of a fountain. My childhood are memories of a patio in Seville and a clear orchard where the lemon tree matures ”.
The Interior of the Palacio de Las Dueñas
The interior of the palace offers architectural pieces of great beauty and steeped in history. You can visit most of the ground floor rooms – Salon de la Gitana, her private sitting rooms, which include the chapel and is antechamber, where the extended family and their friends would gather for religious occasions, the Flamenco room, complete with a tablao for dancing, and of course, a library.
All these rooms also serve to house an important collection of 1,425 artefacts of art and furniture collected over the centuries.
Look out for:
- The many photographs of the Duchess, as well as personal gifts, paintings, poems, mementos and presents in the room with Betis memorabilia.
The History of the Palacio de Las Dueñas
The palace was originally constructed in the late 15th century, a golden era for Seville, which also saw the building of the Royal Alcázar of Seville and the Casa de Pilatos at the same time. Las Dueñas was named after the monastery of Santa María de las Dueñas, which in 1248 was known to house nuns and servants of Saint Ferdinand and Alfonso X the Wise. The monastery was located nearby and demolished in 1868.
It was originally owned by the Pineda family who were Lords of Casabermeja. According to legend in 1496 they had to sell the house in order to pay for the ransom of Don Juan de Pineda, taken prisoner by the Moors during the wars against Granada. The house was bought by the Ribera family. In 1612 the Palace passed to the Alba Family with the marriage of Antonia Enríquez de Ribera to Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, the future Duke of Alba.
In the 19th century parts of the palace were converted for a time into a boarding house, and Antonio Machado, probably Seville’s most famous poet, was born here in 1875.
Other names of Palacio de Las Dueñas
The Palacio de Las Dueñas has the following names: Palace of the Dukes of Alba, Casa Palacio de las Dueñas.
Visiting Palacio de Las Dueñas
10am-8pm Apr-Oct, to 6pm Nov-Mar