Thursday October 17th Cordoba to Sevilla – Palacio Moratalla and Palacio de las Duenas
But first…on our way we make a very special stop to visit the room private gardens of Palacio Moratalla and learn about is unique history dating back to the Romans from our guide. It is currently owned by the Duke of Segovia. I wonder what will impress you more – the majestic 19th century gardens designed by JCN Forestier in the purest style of Versailles and eye popping pink palace nestled in green landscape or a wander behind this all to see acres and acres of orange trees, just hoping to find one on the ground that you can peel and enjoy. Palma is the capital of citrus county located on the border between Cordoba and Sevilla. Oranges from this area are considered in the citrus industry as one the best worldwide.
Did you know? A short history lesson on the Seville Orange!
Although the Seville orange smells like a true orange, it does not have many other obvious award winning virtues. Its rough, thick and bumpy deep orange colored peel clings tightly to its pale orange translucent flesh, making it hard to peel. It is sour, tart, sometimes bitter and laden with seeds. It has two primary attributes: the peel contains fragrant essential oils and its flesh, when ripe is extremely juicy. The most common usage for the Seville orange is for the production of marmalade where it can use its peel and juice to its advantage; any sour and bitter flavors can be developed and enriched into elements of depth. Sour oranges are native to China. Trade routes brought them to Africa and the Mediterranean in the 10th Century. Cultivation of sour orange varieties led to the Seville orange of Seville, Spain in the 12th Century, where it would accrue its name. The Seville orange was the only orange variety in Europe for the next 500 years. It was also one of the first citrus varieties brought to the New World where it was naturalized in the Caribbean, South, Central and North America. When sweet oranges were introduced to America, sour orange trees would begin to shift their role as edible fruit to rootstock. Cross pollination of the sour and sweet orange trees also proved to create bitter fruits in sweet orange varieties which forced farmers to reduce production of sour orange trees.
According to legend, Sevilla was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilization. It was called Hispalis under the Romans and Isbiliya with the Moors. Sevilla lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir and is one of the largest historical centers in Europe, it has the Minaret of La Giralda, the Cathedral (one of the largest in Christendom), and the Alcázar Palace. Part of its treasure also includes Casa de Pilatos.
From the Palacio we head to Sevilla and our first stop is Lunch in Carmona
After our lunch we visit the Palacio de las Duenas, a very special place in time…
For the first time the Palacio de las Dueñas— built between the XV and XVI centuries and residence of the renowned Duchess of Alba— opens its doors to the public, thus offering a unique opportunity to discover this Andalusian gem and the pride of Spain. One of the oldest and most illustrious noble houses in Spain, the House of Alba, boasts a rich heritage, which dates back many centuries and encompasses several magnificent estates located all over the country as well as a great cultural and artistic legacy. (Audio guide here)
Then on to our hotel where the rest of the day/evening is at your leisure.
Hotel Becquer – Standard Room – Two Nights
Hotel Bécquer is located in the old town of Seville, in a unique and privileged location in the city. From here, you can enjoy pleasant walks on the city streets, discover its emblematic spots, mix with the people, taste the exquisite cuisine (especially in the traditional Triana district) and admire its characteristic architectural beauty. Seville Cathedral, the Giralda or the Santa Cruz district are all less than a 10-minute walk away.
Breakfast and Lunch included, Dinner on own
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