Es Capdella & Galatzò
Wherever you go in the Calvià, Galatzò Mountain is not far away. At 1,026 meters (3,369 feet) it is the highest peak in the area. Its sharp, limestone peak usually reflects the Mediterranean sun sunlight but it can look menacing when a storm approaches. It is one of the few places where snow will settle in the area during a Mallorcan winter. Some say it is Mallorca's magic mountain while others say it is haunted by the Evil Count who rides its slopes on a fire breathing horse. The name Galatzò is a bit of a mystery as well although the accepted version is that it started as Aqua Latiorem, (the Greater Water in Latin), which became Qualatior and then Galatzor in the local language.
This part of the island was given to the Bishop of Barcelona, Berenguer de Palou, following the conquest of Mallorca in 1229. The estate in the valley west of the mountain was first mentioned in 1283 and it was owned by Don Guillermo Porcell, possibly an ancestor of one of the knights who came to the island with King Jaime I.
It was in Aparicio Cirera's hands in the 1300s but when he died it passed to Pedro Sacasa to cover outstanding debts. He sold one third to Juan Forteza and the other two thirds were divided between his nephews. The estate was reunited under Berenguer Vivot in 1460 and his family bought up large parts of Calvià
Life was hard for the peasants on Vivot's land and they joined the Brotherhood revolt against rising taxes in 1521. It is said that they gathered together and sought their revenge on their cruel landlord in January 1522, capturing him in the next valley at Valldurgent Manor House (east of Calvià). Pedro Vivot was then tried him to a tree and tortured until he died.
The estates were eventually restored to Nicolau Vivot in 1542 but in 1627 they had to be sold to Don Pedro Zafortesa de Villalonga, later Count of Santa Maria de Formiguera, to settle debts. He was Viceroy of Mallorca and Sardinia as well as the Royal Prosecutor and one of his many roles was to collect rent on behalf of the King. However, it was Don Pedro's son, Don Ramon whose name would be remembered; he would be called 'El Mal Comte' or the 'Evil Count'.
Don Ramon inherited his father's estates while he was only young, but he soon made enemies by raising taxes and through his poor treatment of his tenants. While he had magnificent houses in Palma and Lloseta to name but a few, the peasants lived in hovels. He enjoyed every pleasure available while those on his lands worked hard or starved. Even his wife tried to escape from their Palma home, seeking refuge in the nearby convent until the Count broke in and dragged her back home.
However, matters came to ahead when the people on his eastern estates rose up against tax rises in 1647. Don Ramon responded by having the two leaders, Joan Font i Roig of Maria de la Salut and Balthasar Calafat of Santa Margalida, murdered. It was the final straw and while the Count escaped trial he was forced to retire to the hidden Galatzò estate. He spent much of his time rebuilding the country house we see today and you can see his name and coat of arms carved over the door He died in 1694 but legend has us believe that he rides the valley still.
Don Ramon died childless and while his lands passed to the Cathedral of Mallorca, lawsuits followed as his extended family tried to get their hands on his estates. Galatzò ended up in the hands of Antonio Ferrer de San Jordi, husband of the Countess of Santa Maria de Formiguera. It would pass through the hands of several other families before Don Victorio Luzuriaga, from San Sebastián on the mainland, bought it in 1944.
By 2000 the costs of running the estate were getting out of hand and in 2006 it was bought by Calvià council. They turned it into a country park and while there is still work to be done to restore the manor house to its former glory, there are a number of walks through the stunning countryside. To find the Galatzò Estate leave the motorway at the Palmanova or Santa Ponça exits and drive through Calvià village, heading for Es Capdellà. Take the right turn in the centre of the village and the entrance to the park is to the left after one mile (signposted but not obvious). There is a narrow gravel track onto the estate and you pass through the gate half way down to reach the car park. There are several walking routes of different grades and they are well signposted.
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