The pirates and princes of son marroig
The Pirates and Princes of Son MarroigAugust 25, 2014Next
Mallorca certainly has its fair share of famous visitors, many of them purchasing homes here, drawn by the islands natural beauty and tranquillity. Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria was no different when he arrived on the island in the late 1860´s, captivated, in particular, by the area between the villages of Valldemossa and Deià.
Son of the 19th-century Habsburg ruler of Tuscany, Leopoldo II, Luis Salvador purchased several country estates along this stretch of the North West coastline quite soon after his arrival, out of fear that there were to be sold off to developers. Trading in his royal robes for local peasant clothing, he threw himself into Mallorcan life and culture, intrigued by their traditions end enraptured by the wildlife and scenery. He produced over a period of some twenty years, a series of seven books entitled “Die Balearen,” which, to this day, continues to be the most highly documented study of the island ever compiled.
Of his much loved estates in this area, he felt the most at home at Son Marroig near Deià. Situated in a dramatic position some three hundred metres above the sea, the panoramic views of the rugged coastline, from the house and gardens, are simply stunning. The sixteenth–century defence tower is one of the most architecturally characterising features of this property. It was originally built to prevent frequent attacks which used to occur during that time by pirates who used to take advantage of the sheltered coastline to disembark.
Although the Archduke purchased the property in the late 1860´s, he did not move in until 1880 when he refurbished much of the main house, preserving the tower. After restoration, the Archduke dedicated much of his time to the creation of the beautiful gardens that surround the property, adding unique features such as the famous classic style temple, constructed entirely from Italian Carrara marble, brought from Seravezza. From this temple, it is possible to see the striking peninsular below with a large orifice at the end, some eighteen metres in diameter, known as Sa Foradada, which is best viewed at sunset. The scenery from this viewpoint makes this, which is possibly the best known of the Mallorcan stately homes, worth the visit.
The property passed into the hands of the Archdukes personal secretary, Antoni Vives, after his death in 1915 and part of the house was converted into a museum in 1928. One of the rooms is still a museum, housing a modest collection of Luis Salvador’s fine ceramics, personal drawings and photographs, alongside several pieces of traditional Mallorcan furniture. Today, visitors may wander through much of the house and gardens at leisure.