Monday, January 31, 2011

Casa de Pilatos, Whining, and Cell Phone Booths

A FACE ONLY A MOTHER (OR I) COULD LOVE.

JUST A BIT OF THE EXTERIOR.  VIEW FROM THE PLAZA DEL PILATOS.

While looking through one of our books Sunday morning for places to explore, Jerry came across a small palace (a private family home) that turned out to be about two blocks away from our apartment.  Given the curvy, confusing old streets in Sevilla, that two blocks took us about 25 blocks to find.  When we couldn't find the palace based on its starred location on the map in our book, I checked the listing again to get the street address.  Great help.  The palace, Casa de Pilatos, is at Plaza de Pilatos #1.  Obviously, if we could find Plaza de Pilatos, we would have already found Casa de Pilatos.

VIEW FROM ONE OF THE SIDE ROOMS INTO THE MAIN PATIO.

NOT ENOUGH WORDS IN ENGLISH TO DESCRIBE THE BEAUTY.

I was close to calling it quits, saying, "Well, if we're so close and there are no signs for it, it can't be all that great."  I couldn't have been more wrong.  We persevered.  We've been known to do that.  And we finally found the plaza.  And, as expected, once we found the plaza, we couldn't miss the house.  It was huge!  It turns out there are no signs on the street directing you to it because it's not a city-owned palace.  The palace remains in private hands, is still a private residence of the family of the Dukes of Medinaceli, and a private foundation runs it.

IF THIS WERE MY GARDEN, I'D NAP IN THE SAME SPOT.

We rented the audio tour (in English) and we were off.  Every turn into the courtyard, the gardens, the chapel, and the rooms illicited a gasp.  The place is incredible.  I think I enjoyed it even more than the Alcázar.

BOTTOM HALF OF THE DOOR INTO THE FAMILY CHAPEL.

LOOK CLOSELY.  THE ANGEL IN THE ARCHITECTURE.

It's funny to learn about these properties that have been added to over the years.  The Casa de Pilatos is no exception.  The audio guide made a point of explaining that the house was not as it was originally constructed in the early 1500s (or maybe it was the late 1400s), there were two additions/renovations made... as late as the 1570s!  Lots of things have been added since, but the structure and general appearance of the palace has not changed.  It's magnificent.

THE STAIRS TO/FROM THE UPPER LEVEL.

VIEW OF THE MAIN PATIO FROM UPSTAIRS.

Jerry and I paid extra for the private tour of part of the upper level, which contains family portraits, antiques, stunning rooms, and lots of major art from Italy (which, every time it was mentioned, received appreciative gasps from the large group of Italian tourists visiting the upper rooms with us).

LOOKING OUT TO THE "SMALL" GARDEN.

The Asker and the Whiner
Having wandered the streets for at least a half hour before finally finding the Casa de Pilatos, we were famished when we finished and I had to listen to Jerry whine for five minutes as we walked over to our favorite casual little lunch spot.  On the way, Jerry walked into a phone booth.  Not intentionally.  Fortunately, he wasn't hurt, but he claimed he had walked into the phone booth (as he called it: "a cell phone booth"...?) because he was weak from hunger.  I wasn't very sympathetic (I told him to stop whining), but I did monitor his progress from then on.

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