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Palau Ducal, Gandia (Gandía)
Carrer del Duc Alfons el Vell,
1, 46701 Gandia, València, Spain
+34 962 87 14 65
This impressive Gothic palace with origins in the late 13th century was acquired by the Dukes of Borja – better known by their Italian name Borgia – in the late 15th. Expanded and embellished over the years, its most sumptuous apartments date from the late 18th century, when lavish Baroque salons dripping with gold leaf were added. Famous for the shimmering ceramic tiles which adorn its walls, galleries and balconies, the palace has been immaculately restored by its current owners, the Jesuits.
While the Borgias were engaged in a variety of nefarious activities, the Borjas produced a saint, Francis of Borja. The bed in which St Francis of Borja reputedly slept is in the Salón de Águilas, tucked behind some neo-Gothic arches.
Top 10 Features
1. Main Façade
The simple stone façade, a sober Gothic portal topped with a faded coat of arms and flanked by narrow windows, gives no hint of the luxury within. Only its scale reveals the grandeur of the family that once lived here.
2. Entrance Hall
Nothing survives of the 13th-century palace but the entrance hall which leads to the central patio. The beamed ceiling is original; its painted decoration has faded over the centuries.
The history of the palace and the story of the Borja family are recounted in a fun multimedia exhibition at the beginning of the tour. Note the glowing azulejos (tiles) which adorn the walls of the projection room – there are even finer tiles within the palace itself.
4. Patio de Armas
The Patio de Armas is the main courtyard of the former palace. Once it would have rung with the clatter of carriages making for the stables at its northeastern corner.
5. Salón de Águilas
This extravagantly decorated 18th-century hall boasts a dazzling gilded frieze of fierce eagles (águilas ) feasting on clumps of fruit.
6. Galería Dorada
The sumptuous 18th-century Galería Dorada, a succession of apartments opening into one long hall, is a breathtaking whirl of gilded stucco and colourful tiles.
7. The Four Elements
The Galería Dorada culminates in a stunning mosaic representing the four elements; the sun (Fire) is encircled by birds and butterflies (Air), fish and boats (Water), and plants and flowers (Earth).
8. Salón de Coronas
The majestic 16th-century Hall of Crowns gets its name from the double-crown symbol which appears on the exquisite Manises tiles with which it is decorated, as well as on its elaborate wooden ceiling.
A brilliant blue vaulted ceiling scattered with golden stars soars above the Neo-Gothic chapel, created in the room that was formerly St Francis of Borja’s office.
A simple chapel next to the saint’s humble bedroom was transformed in the 19th century into this splendidly decorated miniature oratory with a series of murals and an exquisite marquetry floor.
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