Pinelo Palace House

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Pinelo Palace House

The evolution of a Renaissance jewel in Seville

Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, which is why public visits are allowed, this house represents one of the great symbols of the Renaissance period, with Gothic and Mudejar elements in its architecture. Despite this, many people are unaware of its value.

It is currently owned by Seville City Council, which has it as the headquarters of the Royal Academy of Medicine and Surgery, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Santa Isabel de Hungría.

In this emblematic palace house in the historic centre of Seville, the architectural highlights are the three-storey facade with a bay window and the gabled roofs in the rooms on the upper floor of the house, a high gallery that already existed in the 16th century. The spectacular coffered ceiling on the mezzanine floor is also noteworthy.

The house, which was built around 1500 by the Genoese merchant Francisco Pinelo (hence its name), housed canonicals and was a lodge house for some 80 years before becoming the historic gem it is today.

Most of the original ceilings that remain are on the ground floor, which is now occupied by the Royal Academy of Belles Lettres. The ceilings on the upper floor, being more exposed to the weather, suffered much more and had to be renovated in the 20th century.

In the Plenary Hall of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which is on the mezzanine floor with access from the main staircase, the best of the coffered ceilings dating from the 16th century is preserved. It is one of the most Mudejar of the palace and has the coats of arms of the Pinelo family, represented by three pine cones and three crescent moons that allude to the surname of María de la Torre, Francisco Pinelo’s wife. This is a truly unique ceiling, which served as a model for the design of the ceiling of the assembly hall of Buenas Letras, which is on the ground floor and was restored by Rafael Manzano. The ceilings of the lower gallery of the courtyard of honour are also original, but the coffered ceiling of the main staircase had to be restored, again by Manzano, trying to be faithful to the original design. The chapel of the house also retains its coffered ceiling.

A privileged lodge house

From 1885 to 1964, this palace house of Los Pinelo was a lodge house called Don Marcos in honour of the priest who ran it. During this time, many modifications were made to the house in order to obtain as much space as possible for its function as a boarding house, as there were up to 75 rooms here. For example, the access to the courtyard of honour was modified, the upper gallery was partitioned off, and what is now the Assembly Hall of the Royal Academy of Belles Lettres was the dining room. And the fact that most often attracts the attention of visitors is the fact that during its time as a lodge house, what used to be the house chapel was converted into a communal bathroom.

It was not just another guesthouse, but because of its beauty it was already a symbol of Seville. An example of this, is that the first colour postcards of Seville featured this establishment. The guests were not just anyone either. In the beginning there were mainly seminarians, but the truth is that over time the level of hospitality declined, and it even found itself hosting people who had fled from the Republican side during the Civil War, and the crisis was such that it even got into financial problems that led to the house being expropriated, and the house became the property of Seville City Council, which recovered the high arches of the main courtyard.

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