The Palace of the Countess of Lebrija in Seville
A wonderful Sevillian palace in the centre of the city, with an amazing collection of Roman archaeology.
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The Palace of the Countess of Lebrija is a magnificent Palace and Museum, located at number 8 on Calle Cuna, a shopping street parallel to the famous Calle Sierpes.
Its origins date back to the sixteenth century, and it is considered the “best-paved palatial home in Europe”. It belonged to several local noble families until in 1901 it was acquired by the Countess of Lebrija who restored it to house her valuable collection of antiquities since she was very fond of archaeology. Her family lived there until 1990 when it became a museum house.
With almost 600 m2 of Roman mosaics on pavements and walls, it is the largest collection in the world of this artistic genre
It has been said to be the best-paved palace in Europe
The Renaissance entrance is flanked by columns that support an entablature on which the central balcony rests, with a wrought iron parapet and topped by a curved pediment.
Worked in marble, the door is made of solid mahogany wood from the 16th century, with a hallway featuring a gilded and polychrome iron grille, a coffered wooden ceiling and a Roman marble floor.
The design of the house was conditioned by archaeological evidence, based on a 16th-century manor house
The main courtyard
The main courtyard, surrounded by galleries, is a mixture of Andalusian, Plateresque and Arabic styles, surrounded by high-quality tiles and plasterwork that adorns arches with marble columns. In the centre we have a Roman mosaic of great quality, dating from the second and third centuries, depicting scenes of the love affairs of Zeus and the seasons of the year.
In the galleries we find numerous archaeological remains partly from the Roman Ruins of Itálica: Statues, Roman and Arab jars, well curbs and showcases with ceramic, glasses, etc.
In addition, there are other remains from various periods, the product of the collecting zeal of Regla Manjón Mergelina, the Countess of Lebrija.
The Palace houses a fabulous collection of Roman and Greek remains and unique furniture and artistic pieces such as Bargueño desks, a Van Dick, a painting of the School of Murillo and a Sorolla
Behold the magnificent Main Staircase, which gives access to the upper floor, a Sevillian staircase in the Andalusian style with three unequal sections, built with materials of very different origins from the 16th and 17th centuries, with the coffered ceiling standing out.
The ground floor
The ground floor has several exhibition halls that match the size of the mosaics, where archaeological remains, collections from the Visigothic, Arab and Roman periods, Greco-Roman busts and mythological representations, together with others in the Chinese and Persian style, are displayed in glass cases. Among its pictorial works are pieces by various artists such as Van Dyck, Bruegel the Elder and Sorolla.
The palace houses valuable paintings by artists such as Van Dyck, Bruegel the Elder and Sorolla.
It is worth mentioning the collection of mosaics that practically cover the floor of the lower part of the house. On many occasions, the mosaics found determined the size of the rooms.
Although many of the remains come from the plundering of Italica, one has to remember that those were different times. Moreover, at least these pieces are in Seville and were not sold on the international market.
The upper floor
The upper floor, formerly the family’s private quarters, is decorated with period furniture and pieces brought from all over the world, including the Countess and her husband’s personal belongings.
Besides being open to the public as a museum since 1999, the palace rents out its halls and courtyards for presentations, incentives, gala dinners, conferences, concerts, etc.
Tips for visiting
- Don’t skip going up to the first floor. Access is not free, but there are several guided tours throughout the day. It is well worth it, it is 50% of the visit and includes a tour of the rooms, with countless works of art of all kinds.
- In terms of archaeological remains, this palace is almost a museum. It has hundreds of pieces from Roman and other periods, statues, steles and above all original mosaics that the Countess was passionate about, and her installation modified the structure of many of the rooms to adapt them.
Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 14:00 (last entry at 13:15) Closed on Mondays. Free entry: Tuesday at 10:00 (with limited capacity, on the ground floor)