Casa de Pilatos

Casa de Pilatos (17)

Casa de Pilatos is the most stunning example of a 16th century palace and the most opulent one in Seville, after the Reales Alcázares. Don Pedro Enríquez and his wife Catalina de Ribera started work on the palace in the 15th century, although most construction took place under the direction of their son, Don Fabrique, the first marquis of Tarifa. It was he, following a trip in 1518 through Europe and the Holy Land, who returned with a passion for Italian Renaissance architecture. This is why the palace is known as Casa de Pilatos [Pilate’s House], because it is believed that is was inspired by Pontius Pilate’s home in Jerusalem. During Seville’s celebration of the Stations of the Cross, the point at which Christ was judged in the home of Pontius Pilate falls at the door of this house and so Sevillians began to call the building "La Casa de Pilatos”.

The palace represents many styles, a mix of Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance. Of all the elements that you will find here, a few merit special attention. First, its marble façade, created in Genoa in 1529. Once inside, you’ll immediately see is the main courtyard, built in Mudejar style. It is surrounded by a series of irregular arches, and in the centre stands a fountain imported from Genoa. Additionally, there is a series of sculptures that represent the goddesses Minerva, Athena and Ceres, as well as a statue of a dancing muse. In the lower galleries there are 24 busts of Roman emperors. 

On the right, crossing the Praetorian hall, with its magnificent coffered ceilings and marquetry, you come to the Zaquizamí corridor filled with various archeological finds, and further along is the Little Garden, with a pool decorated with a bronze statue of the god Bacchus. Be sure to look at the skirting boards and magnificent plateresque grilles.

Other items of note are the Salón Dorado and Salón de Descanso de los Jueces, which has tiled skirting boards and an ornamental frieze. Above all, be sure to look at the beautiful staircase that leads to the upper floor, which is considered a true work of art in its own right, created by Cristóbal Sánchez. The upstairs rooms usually aren’t open to the public, but they exhibit important works of art by artists such as Pacheco, Ribera or Zurbarán.

The room in the left wing of the tower is a good example, where the ceiling is adorned by paintings by Francisco Pacheco in 1604, depicting the apotheosis of Hercules.

Currently, the palace is usually home to the Dukes of Medinaceli. Moreover, you may even have already seen this home before in a film, since scenes have been filmed here for “Mission: Impossible II,” “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Kingdom of Heaven,” by Ridley Scott. 

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