Cordoba has become synonymous with courtyards, and Viana Palace offers a stunning look at these famous southern patios. Also called the Museum of Patios, the Renaissance palace is home to 12 courtyards as well as centuries of history. It was originally built in the 14th century and was lived in, enlarged, and modified until the 1900s.The Basics
Its courtyards give Viana Palace (Palacio de Viana) its fame and make it especially representative of its home city. The patios, especially common in Cordoba, are influenced by Roman and Arabic tradition, and are defined by their central location within the interior of homes and buildings. For centuries they have served as the heart of family and social life and provided a cool respite from the summer heat, thanks to their shade and abundant plants and fountains.
At Viana Palace, expect to find some of Cordoba’s most luxurious patios, filled with gardens, bubbling fountains, and pebbly mosaic-filled flooring. Beyond its lavish courtyards, a palace visit also allows you to peruse its interior, which includes salons filled with frescoes, a 7,000-book library, and Flemish tapestries, among other treasures. It also provides a unique look at an evolution of architectural influence, decor, and aristocratic life.Things to Know Before You Go
- Viana Palace is a must-see for architecture lovers and first-time visitors to Cordoba, especially during the city’s Patios Festival (Fiesta de los Patios).
- The palace’s website features a calendar that explains which plants and flowers are blooming on each patio throughout the year.
- Large packages and backpacks must be checked at the museum’s coat room.
- The palace and gardens are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Viana Palace is located in the Santa Marina neighborhood of Cordoba, at the Plaza de Don Gome. It’s about an 11-minute walk from the Plaza de Tendillas and about a 18-minute walk from the Mosque-Cathedral (Mezquita). You can also take the C2 bus to Palacio de Viana.When to Get There
The palace hours differ throughout the year, as does its schedule of concerts and events; check online. The most colorful blooms occur in the spring, summer, and early autumn. Cordoba is particularly lovely during the city’s Courtyards Festival, held during the first two weeks of May, when homeowners open their blooming courtyards to the public.Tablao El Cardenal
Don’t miss a flamenco performance at the 25-year-old Tablao El Cardenal, which is located close to the Mezquita in the city’s Jewish Quarter. This renowned venue features shows in its indoor auditorium in the fall and winter, and in its own courtyard during spring and summer. Many consider the theater to be the best place in the city to watch this traditional Spanish dance form, which allegedly originated in Cordoba.