Casa de Pilatos, Seville – Magical Hidden Gem Palace (2024)!

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A hidden gem in Seville you must visit is Casa de Pilatos, a majestic Andalusian palace and the residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli.

It’s built in an Italian Renaissance style but has many Mudéjar and Gothic elements. It’s also decorated with 150 glazed Azulejo tiles which are breathtaking to behold.

You may recognise parts of this residence from Hollywood movies like Lawrence of Arabia and Kingdom of Heaven.

It sees far fewer crowds than the Real Alcazar so you can explore this vibrant tiled palace in peace.

Here is a complete guide for Casa de Pilatos in Seville with the history, how to visit and what to expect!

Casa de Pilatos Seville
Casa de Pilatos
Casa de Pilatos Seville

Top Seville Travel Resources

  • Don’t forget travel insurance, I always use World Nomads

Casa de Pilatos history 

This majestic Andalusian palace was built in the 16th century and was commissioned by Don Pedro Enriquez.

The name means “House of Pilatos” and is named after Pontius Pilate, the emperor who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

The reason why this palace has that name is due to the owner’s son, Fadrique Enriques de Ribera, who was inspired during his pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The house is built in a mixture of architectural styles such as Gothic, Mudéjar and Italian Renaissance. Plus, there are many glazed Azulejo tiles created by the Pulido brothers in 1530.  

Casa de Pilatos
Casa de Pilatos Seville

As well as vibrant tiles decorating the rooms and spaces, there are countless Greco-Roman statues and busts that can be found in the courtyard and adjoining rooms. Some of these were recovered from Italica.

Later, this palace became known as the Palacio de los Adelantados Mayores de Andalucía (Palace of the Governors of Andalusia) and the residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli.

Today, the palace is still an active household of the 18th Duchess of Medinacelli and her family.

It’s one of the finest examples of a traditional Sevillian house and is now open to the public as a tourist attraction. 

Casa de Pilatos Seville
Casa de Pilatos Seville

Lawrence of Arabia filming location 

Another reason why people visit Casa de Pilatos is that it was used as a Lawrence of Arabia filming location starring Peter O’Toole. 

Despite the movie being filmed in 1962, the plethora of accolades and awards this movie has received over time draws many tourists here every year.

It’s widely regarded by critics as one of the best movies ever made and was nominated for 10 Oscars (it won seven). Not to mention winning several BAFTA Awards and Golden Globes. 

The upper floors of the palace were used to film the ambassador room in the movie where Lawrence and General Allenby meet.

They also filmed some later scenes in the movie at the Plaza de España which they used for Cairo and the Alfonso XIII Hotel as the courtyard of the officers’ club. Both are worth checking out if you’re a fan. 

Other movies filmed at Casa de Pilatos include the Crusade-themed Kingdom of Heaven starring Orlando Bloom, Ridley Scott’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Knight and Day starring Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise. 

The Ambassador Room Lawrence of Arabia
Ambassador Room in Lawrence of Arabia

How to visit Casa de Pilatos in Seville

Casa de Pilatos can be found on Plaza de Pilatos which is in the Santa Cruz district of Seville. 

This is around a 10-20 minute walk from the historical centre with attractions such as Seville Cathedral and Real Alcazar. 

Plaza de Pilatos Seville

The centre of Seville is quite compact and easy to walk around but its narrow busy roads and the barely-any-pavement situation can be quite a sensory overload if you’re not used to it. 

You can also use buses and trams to get around the city. Tram number 1 heading to Poligono Norte will stop at Recaredo (Puerta Carmona) and you can walk to the palace easily from there. 

Casa de Pilatos address is Pl. de Pilatos, Casco Antiguo. Click here for a Google Pin!

Casa de Pilatos Seville

Opening hours & ticket prices 

Casa de Pilatos is open every day in Seville from 9 am – 6 pm which makes it easy to plan a visit on even the shortest of Seville itineraries. 

If you want to get photos, the good news is that it doesn’t see many tourists throughout the day. However, getting here for opening time would guarantee fewer crowds.

Tickets are €12 for a self-guided tour of the bottom floor and €6 for a guided tour of the upper floor.

Casa de Pilatos Seville

You don’t have to visit both floors but you can’t see the upper floor without a ticket to the bottom floor. 

You can purchase tickets online but I found it very difficult with international card payments from the UK. 

Plus, there are lots of fake third-party ticket websites out there. I just ended up buying my tickets at the desk on the day. 

Casa de Pilatos
Casa de Pilatos

Things to see in Casa de Pilatos

Main patio courtyard 

When you first enter the palace you’ll arrive in the main patio courtyard which was designed to create a grand impression for visitors and it sure does that! 

This beautiful tiled courtyard has a fountain in the centre and you’ll be surrounded by 4 Roman statues of Minerva, Athena, Ceres and Danzarina.

Casa de Pilatos Courtyard

You’ll also find 24 busts of Spanish monarchs and Roman emperors, some of these were recovered from the ancient city of Italica. 

I honestly could have spent hours admiring all the small and ornate details of this grand patio. If you love tile work and patterns then you will be in heaven here!

Casa de Pilatos Seville
Casa de Pilatos

Praetor’s Hall

The Praetor’s Hall is the largest room of the palace that takes on the Mudéjar style as it’s filled with gorgeous Azulejo tiles.

There isn’t much furniture but the tile and plaster work on the walls and honeycomb ceiling more than make up for the decor of this room.

You’ll find several windows that look out onto the courtyard and you can see the Enríquez/Ribera coat-of-arms.

Praetor's Hall Casa de Pilatos
Praetors Room Casa de Pilatos

Judges’ Rest Room

The Judges’ Rest Room (Salon de Descanso de los Jueces) is named after the 71 members of the Sanhedrin of Israel who judged Jesus Christ before the passion. 

As this palace was inspired by the Crusades in Jerusalem, this room is meant to embody Pilate’s Palace. 

This room was used for private meetings of the mayors of Andalucia to discuss matters of governance.

Again, it’s decorated in a beautiful Mudéjar style with tile and stucco plasterwork. Today, several golden globes decorate the tables. 

Judges Rest Room Casa de Pilatos

Chapel of Flagellation 

The most intriguing room of this palace has to be the Chapel of Flagellation which is the oldest room of the residence. It has Christian and Islamic elements with Mudéjar tile work. 

The reason why this room is so fascinating is the fact that it has both Christian and Roman pagan statues. You’ll find an image of Hermes represented as the Good Shepherd. 

The name of this chapel comes from the central image of the flagellation of Jesus Christ. It’s a melting pot of religion, history and culture!

Chapel of Flagellation Casa de Pilatos

Jardin Grande 

The larger garden of the palace, or Jardin Grande, is an impressive green space which is lined with Italian loggias or a long corridors with archways.

The ornate planned gardens were beautiful to explore and the backdrop of the palace annexes were so vibrant.

Jardin Grande Casa de Pilatos
Jardin Grande Casa de Pilatos

As well as a pretty garden, it also served a practical purpose for the family as an orchard and vegetable garden.

You can find a pathway lined with Sevillian orange trees and it gives these gardens the most amazing scent. 

I visited in winter but I can’t imagine what this place looks like in spring with all the colourful flowers in bloom!

Jardin Grande Casa de Pilatos
Large Garden Casa de Pilatos Orchard

Jardin Chico

As well as the larger garden, you should visit the smaller Jardin Chico as well. On your way, you’ll pass a delightful ochre room filled with Roman statues. 

Jardin Chico Casa de Pilatos
Casa de Pilatos Roman statues

This smaller garden is a riot of colour with bougainvillaeas, palm trees, tiled water fountains and statues that decorate the space.

It was a beautiful photo opportunity and a nice place to relax especially with the sun shining on the courtyard.

Casa de Pilatos Roman statues
Jardin Chico Casa de Pilatos

Mudéjar Staircase 

One of my favourite areas of the palace was the impressive staircase you could climb that was decorated with all sorts of tiles from ceiling to floor. 

Casa de Pilatos was the first private residence to have a staircase like this which separated the public guest floors from the private rooms of the family. 

Casa de Pilatos staircase
Casa de Pilatos Staircase

You can see many colourful glazed tiles and portraits as well as the famous Mudéjar honeycomb ceiling created by Cristobal Sanchez. 

You can only reach a certain point up these stairs and then you must turn back to the summer palace.

If you want to explore the private rooms you must buy a ticket for a guided tour of the upper floor. 

Casa de Pilatos Staircase
Casa de Pilatos Staircase

Take a tour of the Upper Winter Palace

Casa de Pilatos has two floors that you can visit but you need a separate ticket to see the upper floors. You can only see this part of the palace on a guided tour that takes around 40 minutes.

These guided tours are run in both English and Spanish and are every 30 minutes to an hour depending on the season. So, make sure to plan ahead if you’re strict on time. 

Casa de Pilatos upper palace

In my opinion, this tour was well worth doing as not only did you get to see the family’s private apartments but you got to hear the Dukes of Medinaceli’s role in Seville society.

The lower floors of this palace were mainly used in the summer months but the upper floors were used for winter. You’ll find braziers throughout the house which were used to warm the rooms. 

Film buffs will also think this tour is worth it as you can step inside the ‘Ambassador Room’ from the Hollywood classic, Lawrence of Arabia

Casa de Pilatos upper palace

How long do you need to visit Casa de Pilatos?

I would say you need around 1-2 hours to explore Casa de Pilatos, budget a little longer if you want to take a tour of the upper palace floor. 

There is a lot to see on your visit like the courtyard, statues, endless glazed tiles, staterooms and colourful gardens. There’s an audio guide for you to listen to as you explore.

Casa de Pilatos

You can only access the upper floor of the palace on a guided tour and this takes around 30-40 minutes maybe a little longer if the group have lots of questions.

I spent a whole morning here with my time in Seville and didn’t regret a thing. The entire place was just spectacular and had endless opportunities for photos. 

Casa de Pilatos Seville

Is Casa de Pilatos worth visiting?

100% yes, Casa de Pilatos in Seville is well worth visiting if you have a few days in the city.

Not only is this one of the grandest homes in all of Andalusia but it has an incredible story to tell and it’s a great way to learn the history of Seville and its melting pot of culture. 

Casa de Pilatos Seville

Another benefit is that this place is a bit of a hidden gem so you won’t find masses of crowds here unlike the Real Alcazar.

This means you can explore the architecture in peace and simply relax in this grand Sevillian residence. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time.

Don’t skip Casa de Pilatos in Seville, it’s an incredible Mudéjar mansion that you won’t forget in a hurry. 

Casa de Pilatos Seville

Looking for more things to do in Seville?

If you love history then Seville has historic attractions in abundance and many are part of the Seville UNESCO World Heritage site!

In the heart of Seville, you’ll find the world’s largest Gothic cathedral and the Giralda Tower. It’s a stunning building that has many features like Christopher Columbus’ tomb and the Capilla Real.

It used to be an ancient mosque and the old minaret tower is now the Giralda Tower. Join the queue to head right to the top and enjoy panoramic views over the city.

The best way to explore this cathedral is on a rooftop tour which is what I did. You’ll get to climb up winding staircases and see the stained glass windows, gothic towers and buttresses up close whilst overlooking the historic quarter. 

After you must stop by Archivo de Indias, a huge archive that covers Spanish exploration in the Americas.

Giralda Tower Seville
Giralda Tower Seville

After, you must explore the majestic Real Alcazar, the royal palace of Seville. You’ll get to see the Courtyard of Maidens, historic staterooms and the elaborate water gardens too. 

For Game of Thrones fans, this is where they filmed the Kingdom of Dorne in the show and you’ll recognise many of the filming locations for Sunspear on your visit. 

Real Alcazar Seville
Real Alcazar

There are also many other historic attractions in Seville such as Plaza de España, Torro de Orro and Maria Luisa Park to name a few.

Or, why not explore something contemporary and watch the sunset at Setas de Sevilla? It’s a mushroom-shaped structure that overlooks the city and I loved their Aurora show in the evening.

Plaza de España Seville
Plaza de España

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Save Casa de Pilatos Seville for later! 

Casa de Pilatos Seville Spain

Here are some Spain travel resources

  • Flights: I use Skyscanner to look for flight deals. Try to be flexible with travel dates for the best prices.
  • Accommodation: Booking.com is my go-to hotel platform and I’ve used them for years. 
  • Public transport: You can book trains through the official Renfe site. Also, Trainline works and I found it cheaper on some journeys.
  • Car rental: Rental Cars is a great choice that compares all sorts of rental companies and gets you the best price.
  • Activities: I love GetYourGuide and use the platform all the time for booking group tours and attraction tickets.
  • e-Reader: I love to read Romantasy books and I always take my beloved Kindle Oasis with me. It has an orange light and is waterproof which is perfect for lounging by the pool.
  • Travel insurance: I always use World Nomads to book travel insurance. You never know when you’ll need cover! 

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