Casa del Timple

Formerly known as the Palacio Spinola, this impressive edifice now plays host to the Casa del Timple - a musem dedicated to a small guitar like instrument which plays a big role in local folklore and tradtional music.

The building was renovated during the 1970´s by the ubiquitous César Manrique- and provides the perfect opportunity to step back in time and sample the lifestyle of an affluent nobleman in 18th century Lanzarote, whilst also learning more about the role of the timple in island life.

Historic Teguise 

Palacio Marques in TeguiseTeguise was the first official Spanish crown settlement in the Canary Islands – dating back as far as 1418 – when Maciot de Bethencourt first demarcated the towns boundaries.

And across the centuries – as the threat of pirate raids, which had blighted the town’s security and prosperity, receded – it became the hub of business and commerce on the island and the main seat of political, military and financial power.

Making it the place to reside for the islands great and good –such as wealthy merchants, noblemen and politicians.

Today, echoes of this prosperous past still resonate through Teguise´s cobbled streets – which are home to some fantastic old buildings and a wealth of colonial architecture that cannot be found anywhere else on Lanzarote. Making La Villa, as it is known locally, one of the best-preserved historic centers in the whole of the Canary Islands.

 Many of these buildings are now private residences and are therefore hidden away from public gaze behind green wooden shutters. But the house-museum at the Palacio Spinola is open to the public.

Plaza de Leones

The Palacio Spinola is located in the heart of Teguise in the Plaza de San Miguel – also known locally as the Plaza de Leones because of the two statues of lions that stand guard opposite the entrance to the Palace.

Construction on the building started in 1730 – the same year that the south of the island was subjected to a six-year volcanic eruption that forged the national park at Timanfaya. These eruptions obviously disrupted life on Lanzarote and the building of the Palacio took another fifty years to complete.

The Inquisitors House

Palacio Spinola interiorThe Palacio was originally known as the Inquisitors House – as it was once the HQ of the Holy Inquistion. And from the middle of the 18th Century it became home to the Feo Peraza family, the best known of whom was the policitican Jose Feo Armas. But by 1895 the Palacio had passed into the hands of the wealthy Spinola family.

The impressive frontage of the building with its six huge windows enclosed by intricately carved wooden shutters is a clear indication of the prosperity of the original owners. As you needed serious money to afford this sort of opulence in the early 18th Century.

Visitors walk through a formal entrance way, tiled with volcanic stone – where a small admission charge of €3 is made (free for children under 12 years) – and they are then free to explore the passageways and patios of the Palacio with the help of a basic printed guide which outlines the function of each room.

Amongst the most fascinating of these are the kitchens, with a chimney arrangement that is open to the elements in order to carry away cooking smoke, a latticed viewing gallery that overlooks the two main salons, or living rooms, a massive dining room with seating for thirty two guests and a small private family chapel. Featuring an intricately carved wooden altar.

Throughout the Palacio, modern paintings by local artists such as Aguilar are juxtaposed with antique and reproduction furniture.

 

Courtyards & Patios

Patio at Palacio SpinolaThe exterior of the building is equally impressive, as long passageways lead visitors out into a delightful courtyard area that houses two stately old Canarian palm trees as well as a variety of flowering plants such as hibiscus and strelitza as well as an array of colourful succulents.

Here, visitors can observe the giant wooden door guarding the entranceway – built to a height that would allow both a horse and rider to enter unhindered.

The Palacio Spinola isn’t huge – comprising eleven rooms in total. So it will probably only occupy an hour or so of your time at best. But it is an extremely well preserved example of 18th Century architecture.

And who knows – you might even bump into a modern day grandee. As the Palacio Spinola is also now the official residence of the Governor of the Canary Islands when he is visiting Lanzarote.

 

 

 

 

Background Information

Getting There

From Tahiche, follow the LZ10 to Teguise. Continue until you reach a roundabout with a silver, S shaped sculpture in the centre, at which you need to take the exit to your left. There is usually ample parking (free) by the Convento de San Francisco (the big church like building on your right) or the streets close by.

 Note that Teguise is home to a large Sunday market, when parking close to the town is far more difficult.

Opening Hours

Winter
09.00 – 16.00 Monday to Saturday
09.00 – 15.00 Sunday (and Festival Days)

Summer
09.00 – 15.00 Daily

Website

Casa del Timple