The Avenida Juan Miró connects Cala Major to Palma, to the west of the city. It is named after the Spanish painter and sculptor who was born in Barcelona and lived for most of his adult life in Palma. On the sea side of the road is Marivent Palace, previously known as Saridakis Palace and the current summer residence of the Spanish Royal Family.
John Saridakis (1877-1963) was a Greek-Egyptian painter and art collector who started life as an engineer in the Chilean copper mines. He trained under the painter Pedro Lira, specialising in landscape paintings and engravings of buildings and over the years amassed a billionaire sized fortune. He was rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous and could count his compatriot Aristotle Onassis amongst his friends.
Saridakis moved to Palma in 1923 and he commissioned Guillem Forteza Piña (1892-1943) , the Mayor of Palma, to design a palace style building with traditional and Italian influences in the secluded location on the coast near Cala Major, southwest of Palma. Work was complete in 1925 and it became home for his family and his collection of over 100 paintings, 1,300 pieces of antique furniture and a library of 2,000 books.
Saridakis lived in the house until his death in 1963 and two years later his widow, Annunziata Taffani - Marconi donated the estate to the Council , with the proviso that the house was turned into a public museum dedicated to her husband's collection. To begin with the arrangement work but when the government of the Balearic Islands was dissolved following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, the Council arranged for the Spanish Royal House to use the palace as their summer home. It was also given a new name, Marivent Palace; or Sea and Wind Palace.
The Saridakis family contested the arrangement in 1978, stating it was against the family wishes, and asked for the contents to be returned. For the next ten years the case was dealt with by Spain's Supreme Court with the main dispute over the value of the contents. While the Council said the collection was valued at 40 million pesetas, the family wanted 3,000 million pesetas. The Saridakis family eventually won and Marivent Palace was stripped of Joan's collection. The house was never opened to the public again and it is still used by King Juan Carlos I as a summer residence, particularly during the Copa del Rey, or King's Cup, sailing competition. It is also used by the Prime Minister and other important offices for receptions and interviews. The palace was probably chosen because it is not overlooked and the only way to get a good view of the palace is from the sea.
To the west is Hotel Principe Alfonso which was designed in 1906 by Gaspar Bermassar Moner (1869-1933). The façade is decorated with ceramics and glazed tiles in the style of an Arab palace.
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