Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
The Viana Palace or Palacio de Viana is a beautiful 17th century mansion which today is a museum. Much is written about Cordoba, its Jewish quarter and The Mezquita but this little gem is often overlooked.
There are tapestries, furniture, porcelain and paintings on display but its real joy are the patios and gardens. With an official recognition as an Artistic Garden there is plenty do see and wander through here.
One loses count, the official guidebook says there are thirteen patios, the official leaflet, twelve but you too will lose count. They are all a delight arches, fountains, pots and palm trees abound.
If Cordoba is to be your destination come in May when The Festival de los Patios is on, the town competition when private patios are open to the public for perusal and judging. Then take a visit to the Viana Palace as well – of course for some it may be too many pots, plants and patios – but not for me.
The Viana Palace Patios
1. The Reception Courtyard
2. The Archive Courtyard
3. The Chapel Courtyard
4. The Gate Courtyard
5. The Gardeners’ Courtyard
6. The Well Courtyard
7. The Pool or Greenhouse Courtyard
8. The Garden
9. The Madame Courtyard
10. The Column Courtyard
11. The Grille Courtyard
12. The Orange-tree Courtyard
13. The Courtyard of the Cats
They are all as delightful as they sound. The Palace today covers more than 6,500 square metres, half of that being outside areas. The architecture in the central area is like the Roman “insula” which is formed by two domes.
The early layout of the Palace and its subsequent growth shows the architectural evolution from the fifteenth century, uniquely the entry is an angled doorway of sculptured masonry which today is between two buildings which would have been added later on.
The Palace itself feels more like entering someone’s home than a public museum with the rooms being very much as they would have been originally when the Viana family lived there.
A fusion of Roman mosaics, marble and decorative tiles decorate the house, along with some gorgeous Renaissance and Mudejar carved panels and ceilings. Outside cobblestones, gravel, tiles and local Cordoba bricks were used to create the unique patio and gardens.