Residence to one in every of Spain’s most essential non-public artwork collections that features work by Goya, Velazquez and Rubens, the Liria Palace was for many years Madrid’s greatest saved cultural secret.
However over 14,000 individuals have thus far visited the house of the 19th Duke of Alba, the pinnacle of one in every of Spain’s oldest and richest aristocratic homes, because it opened its doorways to most of the people in September and there’s a two-month ready interval for tickets.
“The social strain to see the gathering was robust,” mentioned Alvaro Romero Sanchez-Arjona, head of the tradition division on the Casa de Alba Basis which runs the 18th century palace positioned close to the bustling Gran By way of, the Spanish capital’s important procuring avenue.
Its most notable work embrace a portrait by Francisco Goya of the 13th Duchess of Alba that was not too long ago returned after being leased to the Thyssen museum in Madrid, in addition to portraits of different members of the 5 centuries-old Home of Alba by Titian and Rubens.
The library, adorned in a vivid shade of emerald, shows a group of letters by Christopher Columbus, a primary version of Miguel de Cervantes’ traditional Don Quixote from 1605, and the Alba Bible – the primary Spanish translation of the Previous Testomony.
Different treasures embrace luxurious tapestries and porcelain belonging to France’s final empress and spouse of Napoleon III, Maria Eugenia de Montijo, who died on the palace in 1920.
The Liria Palace was occupied by Communists throughout Spain’s 1936-39 Civil Conflict and was gutted by a number of fires that left simply the 4 outer partitions standing. However the priceless assortment of work survived as a result of they have been saved within the cellars of the Prado museum and the Financial institution of Spain.
Duke Carlos Fitz-James Stuart and his household proceed to reside on the second flooring of the palace which is off limits to the general public however 12 rooms on the decrease flooring may be visited.
That is the third palace that the Albas have opened for public visits because the dying in 2014 of the duke’s mom, the 18th Duchess of Alba who in keeping with the Guinness Ebook of Data had extra aristocratic titles than another individual on the planet.
Recognized for her shock of frizzy hair, flamboyant method and outrageous garments, the thrice-married duchess who was born within the Liria Palace was steadily photographed at society weddings and bullfights.
She made headlines in 2011 when on the age of 85 she married a civil servant who was 24 years youthful.
Earlier than the wedding she divided her fortune – estimated at between 600 million euros (RM2.7bil) and three.5 billion euros (RM16bil) – amongst her six youngsters to persuade them that her suitor was besotted along with her fairly than her cash.
The household is prohibited from promoting a lot of its heirlooms resulting from their cultural significance so opening up their properties to guests is a approach to elevate funds to assist offset the large prices of their repairs.
However the choice to permit the general public in Liria Palace has divided the Albas. The fifth son of the 18th Duchess of Alba, Cayetano Martinez de Irujo, blasted the transfer in an autobiography printed in September through which he additionally recalled how he and his siblings have been raised by nannies who beat them with bamboo canes, and lived a youth stuffed with intercourse and cocaine.
“My residence will change into a showcase like a Zara window,” he wrote, referring to the favored Spanish-owned clothes chain. – AFP
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