Finca Raixa

Finca Raixa stands as a true icon of Mallorca’s beauty and splendour, nestled at the foot of the majestic Tramuntana Mountains. Renowned for its Italian-style architecture and idyllic gardens, Raixa is not just another Mallorcan possession; it is a time capsule that offers visitors a journey through the island’s rich historical and natural heritage.

Originally built as an Islamic farmhouse, Raixa has seen counts, cardinals and nobles pass through its lands, each of them leaving their mark on the estate through renovations and reforms that have shaped its appearance to the present day.

Transformed in the 18th century by Cardinal Despuig into a neoclassical villa, the estate has managed to preserve architectural and artistic elements dating from the 16th century, including the vault of its chapel and the portico of its clastra or central courtyard.

Beyond its historical and architectural importance, Raixa stands out for its gardens. These green spaces, which stretch gently up the slopes of the Tramuntana mountain range, are a reflection of human ingenuity and natural beauty, offering panoramic views that capture the essence of Mallorca. The estate and its gardens are not just a place of aesthetic beauty; they are a living testimony to the interaction between man and nature, a legacy that Raixa has preserved over the centuries.

Today, Raixa is open to the public, inviting locals and tourists to explore its grounds, architecture and gardens free of charge. This article aims to be your guide to organising a visit to this iconic site, revealing not only the history and beauty of the estate, but also how it can be experienced and enjoyed today. Join us on this journey through time and space, and discover for yourself why Finca Raixa remains an unmissable stop for those looking to immerse themselves in Mallorca’s rich culture and landscape.

History of Raixa

The history of Raixa is a fascinating journey through time, reflecting the rich cultural and social tapestry of Mallorca. Its origins date back to Islamic times, when it was established as a farmhouse, a type of fortified farm, which today only retains its name as a vestige of that period. After the reconquest of Mallorca by King James I of Aragon in 1229, these lands were granted to the Count of Ampurias, marking the beginning of a long sequence of transfers and transformations that would shape Raixa as we know it.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Raixa was owned by the distinguished Sureda de Sant Martí and Safortesa-Tagamanent families. It was precisely the latter family that, at the beginning of the 16th century, began a significant reconstruction of the estate, leaving for posterity elements such as the chapel vault and the portico that adorns its courtyard. However, not everything in Raixa’s history has been one of serenity and splendour; in 1522, the estate suffered an assault and was burnt down by the followers of the Germanías, a social movement of the time, evidencing the social and political tensions that are also part of Raixa’s legacy.

The 18th century marked a turning point in Raixa’s history with the figure of Cardinal Despuig, Antonio Despuig i Dameto, who transformed the estate into a monumental neoclassical villa, endowing it with a museum of classical sculpture now present in Bellver Castle in Palma. Under his vision, Raixa was not only architecturally embellished but also became a centre of enlightenment and culture on the island.

The monumental staircase, the Italian-style gardens and the loggia on the south façade bear witness to the neoclassical reforms carried out by Cardinal Despuig in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These modifications not only improved the aesthetics of the estate, but also endowed it with an atmosphere of grandeur and refinement, making it one of the most significant examples of neoclassical architecture in Mallorca.

Over the centuries, Raixa has passed through the hands of various noble families, each leaving their mark on the evolution of the estate. In 1993, Raixa was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, in recognition of its high historical and artistic value. Its acquisition in 2002 by the National Parks Foundation and the Consell de Mallorca opened a new chapter in the history of Raixa, allowing it to be opened to the public and turning it into an interpretation and visitor centre for the estate itself and the Serra de Tramuntana.

The history of Raixa is, without a doubt, the history of Mallorca itself: a narrative of conquests, transformations and cultural preservation that continues to fascinate visitors, offering a unique window into the past and a mirror of the island’s heritage.

Finca Raixa, Mallorca

The Raixa Gardens

The Raixa gardens constitute an oasis of beauty and serenity that encapsulates the essence of the Mediterranean and reflects the influence of diverse artistic and landscape trends over the centuries. Designed with meticulous attention to detail and a deep appreciation for the harmony between nature and architecture, these gardens are a living testimony to the aesthetic vision that has guided the evolution of Raixa.

In the lower part of the estate, the visitor is greeted by the orchard and the Tarongers garden, spaces which, with their classical design and traditional crops, take us back to a time when agriculture played a central role in the life of the Mallorcan estates. The Gallery Garden, with its elegant fountain in the centre, and the Entrance Garden, where a small pond welcomes visitors, complete this first impression of Raixa, offering a foretaste of the beauty and peace that characterise the entire estate.

The entrance gate, erected in 1898 and adorned with the coat of arms of Count Ramon Despuig i Fortuny, marks the threshold to a world of classical beauty and cultivated nature. This element is not only a piece of architectural interest, but also a symbol of the nobility and history that permeate Raixa.

Ascending to the top of the gardens, the monumental staircase dedicated to the god Apollo stands at the heart of this idyllic setting. Flanked perhaps by statues of four muses, this staircase is not just a decorative element; it is an invitation to ascend to a plane of existence where art, nature and mythology intertwine. Beyond the staircase, the large pond, the grotto, a historic pavilion, a small hermitage and a temple at the top of the garden, dating from 1854, offer various points of interest that enrich the visit with their history and beauty.

Water, a vital element in the conception and design of the Raixa gardens, plays a leading role thanks to the acquisition of water from the Pastoritx fountain in 1807. This resource made it possible to transform the large cistern into a real pond of impressive proportions, creating a mirror of water that reflects the grandeur of the surrounding landscape and architecture.

From the viewpoints and paths that wind through the upper part of the gardens, the views of the house and the surrounding landscape are a spectacle to behold, offering unforgettable panoramic views that merge the work of man with the majesty of Mallorca’s nature.

The Raixa gardens, with their combination of classical design and natural elements, are not only a space of exceptional beauty; they are also a reflection of Mallorca’s history, culture and traditions, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in a world where past and present coexist in perfect harmony.

Serra Tramuntana Centre and Espai Collidores

Finca Raixa is not only a testimony to the architectural and natural history of Mallorca, but also a focal point for understanding the cultural and ecological importance of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. This mountain range, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Cultural Landscape category, is presented at Raixa through the Serra Tramuntana Centre and the Espai Collidores. These spaces are key elements for understanding not only the aesthetic and natural value of the Serra Tramuntana, but also its importance in the social and economic life of the island over the centuries.

Serra Tramuntana Centre.

This interpretation centre offers visitors a deep immersion into the most significant aspects of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. Through exhibitions and informative material, it highlights the historical interaction between humans and this natural environment, showing how this relationship has shaped one of the most unique cultural landscapes in Spain. The presentation of the Serra de Tramuntana in Raixa seeks to emphasise its ecological diversity, its rich heritage and the way in which local communities have been able to adapt and make sustainable use of their natural resources.

Espai Collidores.

Within the Serra Tramuntana Centre, the “Espai Collidores” is a tribute to the women gatherers of the Serra Tramuntana, recognising their essential work in the conservation of this landscape and their contribution to the domestic economy and Mallorcan culture. This space not only thanks these women for their work during the coldest months of the year, but also celebrates their role in promoting gender equality and female solidarity, even before the term “sorority” was widely recognised. The exhibition includes the names of 352 women gatherers identified by the Consell de Mallorca, as well as an explanatory panel that tells their story, reflecting official recognition of their indispensable contribution.

“Collint testimonis”.

As a complement to the permanent exhibition, the audiovisual project “Collint testimonis” brings together the testimonies of 57 olive pickers from the Serra, distributed in six videos representing different localities. This personal and direct approach allows visitors to get closer to the individual stories of these women, gaining a better understanding of the impact of their work on the conservation of the Tramuntana landscape and their influence on community life.

The Serra Tramuntana Centre and the Espai Collidores, along with the other Raixa facilities, provide a comprehensive perspective on the relevance of the Serra de Tramuntana for Mallorca. Through these spaces, visitors are invited to reflect on the role this heritage plays in the island’s identity, as well as the importance of preserving it for future generations.

Film Experience at Raixa

Finca Raixa is not only a testament to Mallorca’s rich cultural and natural history, but has also served as a magnificent backdrop for cinema, capturing the imagination of directors and viewers alike. Its timeless charm and scenic beauty have made it the perfect backdrop for cinematic narratives, from literary adaptations to detective mysteries.

One of the most notable examples is Jaime Chavarri’s adaptation of Llorenç Villalonga’s novel “Bearn o la sala de las muñecas”. With one of the highest budgets in the history of Spanish cinema at the time, “Bearn” featured renowned actors such as Fernando Rey, Angela Molina and Imanol Arias. Filming, which began in Mallorca on 22 October 1982, transformed Raixa into a character in the film, offering a glimpse into the grandeur and decadence of the Mallorcan aristocracy. The film was premiered in 1983 at the Auditorium in Palma, becoming a cultural event of great importance and attended by prominent figures of the time.

Raixa also served as the setting for the famous British film “Death in the Sun”, directed by Guy Hamilton and based on a novel by Agatha Christie. Starring Peter Ustinov as the detective Hercule Poirot, this 1982 film explored mystery and intrigue in an island setting full of beauty and suspicion. The estate and its surroundings provided the perfect setting for this thriller, demonstrating its versatility as a film location.

The choice of Raixa as a location for these film productions not only highlights its aesthetic value, but also underlines the deep connection between Mallorca’s cultural heritage and the visual arts. These films have allowed international audiences to discover the beauty of Raixa and, by extension, that of the whole island, promoting greater interest in its history, culture and landscapes.

Visiting Raixa: a cinematic experience.

For lovers of cinema and history, visiting Raixa offers the opportunity to walk through the same corridors and gardens that once served as the backdrop for literary intrigues and detective mysteries. It is an invitation to imagine the scenes that unfolded in these spaces and to appreciate the art of turning real locations into narrative worlds.

Every corner of Raixa, from its imposing gardens to its elegant architecture, tells stories not only of Mallorca’s past but also of its role as a muse for cinema. By visiting, one becomes not only a spectator of its rich cultural history, but also part of the continuity of its cinematic legacy. Raixa, with its unique atmosphere and timeless beauty, continues to be a place where history, nature and art meet, offering every visitor the opportunity to live their own cinematic experience.

Raixa Gardens, Majorca

Planning your visit

The experience of visiting Finca Raixa offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Mallorca’s rich history and natural beauty. For those interested in the architecture, historic gardens, and culture of the Tramuntana Mountains, planning your visit to Raixa is essential to make the most of this hidden gem. Here are some tips and recommendations for organising your trip:

Arriving at Raixa.

Finca Raixa is located in the municipality of Bunyola, at the foot of the majestic Tramuntana mountain range. For those looking for a complete experience, the train and hiking route to Raixa is a delightful option. Starting in Sóller with the historic tram, followed by the emblematic “Rayo Rojo” train to Bunyola, this option not only allows you to enjoy the Mallorcan landscape, but also invites you to reflect on the importance of conserving the island’s natural and cultural environment.

From the Bunyola train station, it is a walk of approximately 3.5 km to the finca, a journey that can be completed in about an hour on foot. This walk is not only an opportunity to connect with nature, but also to anticipate the historical and aesthetic richness that Raixa has to offer.

Reservations and guided tours.

It is important to note that to visit Raixa, especially if you wish to take part in a guided tour, it is necessary to book at least one week in advance. These tours, available in Catalan, Spanish, English and German, require a minimum of 10 people and offer a deep immersion into the history and secrets of the estate, lasting approximately two hours.

What to expect.

A visit to Raixa is a window into the living history of Mallorca. Beyond exploring the imposing main building and its rooms, which simulate life in bygone eras, Raixa’s gardens stand out as one of the main attractions. Designed by the famous Italian architect Giovanni Lazzarini, these gardens are a masterful display of landscape art, offering a setting where nature and the human hand coexist in perfect harmony.

Tips for the visit

  • Preparation: Wear comfortable shoes for the walk from Bunyola and for exploring the gardens.
  • Photography: Don’t forget your camera to capture the beauty of the gardens and the panoramic views.
  • Picnic: Although you are not allowed to eat inside the estate, organising a picnic nearby can be a great way to complement your visit.
  • Respect: Remember that Raixa is a site of historical and natural importance, so you should act with respect for the environment and the facilities.

Raixa is not only a destination to admire the natural and architectural beauty of Mallorca, but also an invitation to reflect on the importance of preserving our cultural and natural heritage. With proper planning, your visit to Raixa will become an unforgettable experience that will enrich your appreciation for the island of Mallorca and its history.

Tips for your visit

To visit Finca Raixa is to immerse yourself in a living chapter of Mallorca’s history and natural beauty. To ensure that this experience is as enriching as it is memorable, here are some practical recommendations:

Adequate preparation

  • Shoes and clothing: As the visit involves a fair amount of walking, both to reach the estate from Bunyola and to explore its extensive gardens, it is crucial to wear comfortable shoes. Also consider seasonally appropriate clothing, and don’t forget a hat and sunscreen in the sunnier months.
  • Hydration and snacks: Although eating inside the finca is not permitted, bringing water and some snacks will help keep you hydrated and energised, especially if you plan to hike from Bunyola or explore the surrounding area after your visit.

During your visit

  • Photography: Raixa offers countless views worth capturing, from its gardens to the architecture and panoramas of the Tramuntana mountain range. Be sure to bring your camera or phone with plenty of charge and storage space.
  • Respect for the environment: Raixa is an asset of cultural interest and a natural space of great value. It is essential to respect the rules of the place, such as not touching the works of art, not damaging the plants and staying within the permitted areas.
  • Full exploration: Take time to explore both the house and the gardens. Every corner of Raixa has its own history and beauty, from the oldest architectural features to the hidden corners of the gardens.

Around Raixa

  • Nearby villages: Take advantage of your visit to Raixa to explore the nearby villages of Bunyola and Sóller, which offer an authentic glimpse into Mallorcan life, as well as dining options and other places of interest.
  • Sierra de Tramuntana: As Raixa lies at the foot of this imposing mountain range, consider taking the time to explore some of the trails, viewpoints and rich biodiversity that this World Heritage Site has to offer.

Details of a visit to the Finca Raixa

The Finca Raixa, located in the heart of Mallorca at the foot of the majestic Tramuntana Mountains, is a must-see destination for those interested in history, architecture, and historic gardens. Here we provide you with all the information you need to plan your visit:

Opening hours

  • The estate is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, offering visitors the opportunity to explore this iconic site during the morning and early afternoon.
  • It is important to note that Raixa is closed to visitors on Mondays, Sundays and public holidays, as well as during the Christmas and New Year holidays (24 December, 31 December and 6 January).

Entry price

  • Admission to Finca Raixa is completely free of charge. This free access allows a wide range of visitors, both local and international, to enjoy and appreciate the cultural and natural wealth that Raixa has to offer.

Parking availability

  • For those who choose to visit Raixa by car, the estate has its own car park. This service facilitates the arrival and comfort of visitors, ensuring direct access to the main entrance of the estate.

Services offered

  • Guided visits: Raixa offers guided visits for groups with a minimum of 10 people. These tours must be booked at least one week in advance, and are available in several languages: Catalan, Spanish, English and German. These tours provide a deep immersion into the history and secrets of the estate, lasting approximately 2 hours.
  • Interpretation centre: The centre offers a detailed overview of the history of the estate and its importance within the Serra de Tramuntana, as well as temporary exhibitions and spaces dedicated to the conservation of Mallorca’s natural and cultural heritage.
  • Toilets: For the convenience of visitors, Raixa has accessible toilets during the estate’s opening hours.

Accessibility

  • It is important to consider that, due to the historic nature of the building and its grounds, there may be limitations in terms of accessibility for people with reduced mobility. It is recommended that you contact the estate directly before your visit to obtain specific information on accessibility so that you can plan your stay accordingly.

A visit to Finca Raixa is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the cultural and natural wealth of Mallorca. With proper planning, you will be able to fully enjoy all that this iconic site has to offer, from its stunning gardens to its deep historical legacy.

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