We meet Soledad de Montaner, the esteemed daughter of the distinguished family that has owned Palma’s magnificent Can Vivot palace for over four centuries. As we delve into the rich history and intriguing stories behind this grand “Casal”, join us in discovering the secrets and cherished memories that have been preserved within its walls for generations. Prepare to be transported back in time as Soledad shares her unique insights into the legacy of Can Vivot and the enduring spirit of her family.
IRMA: What are the essential elements or practices that you follow to maintain the palace’s grandeur and historical significance?
SOLEDAD DE MONTANER: The starting point to maintain the greatness of the palace is to know its history and how the house worked through the centuries, as well as the most representative characters of the family. An essential aspect of Can Vivot is that it has always belonged to the same family and it is they who, today, are in charge of guiding the tour of the house. We believe that the main thing is the dissemination of this historical monument so that society can understand the importance of reviewing its conservation. For example, the frescoes that decorate the ceilings of the rooms, the work of an Italian painter from the early 18th century, with their symbolic and mythological content, are of particular interest. Some of them need urgent restoration, and we are trying to get institutional support.
IRMA: Have you ever considered changing the layout of the rooms or rearranging the furniture in Can Vivot?
SOLEDAD DE MONTANER: For us it is essential to maintain the structure of the building. Something that makes Can Vivot very special is that it is an image from the past. All its rooms remain in accordance with their original appearance, both in their distribution and in their furniture.
The interior of Can Vivot is divided into a part that belongs to the 16th century, and another that corresponds to a reform carried out in 1700. Thanks to this, we can analyze the evolution of the styles of the palace rooms. All the people who come to visit it will be able to know how the Mallorcan manor houses were decorated, now practically all of them dismantled. Only in very specific cases we would proceed to adapt some space if necessary.
IRMA: Are there times when you contemplate quitting or feel overwhelmed, and what motivates you to persevere?
SOLEDAD DE MONTANER: Yes, because currently it is difficult to sustain this type of houses. However, for us the moral duty we feel to preserve this heritage prevails. Altogether, Can Vivot has 700 years of history. For us it is very important to continue our family legacy and pass it on to future generations. In addition, it is part of the history of Mallorca.
IRMA:How do you manage the balance between modern-day living and preserving the historical aspects while residing in Can Vivot?
SOLEDAD DE MONTANER: Currently, living in a house like Can Vivot means adapting to its spaces. In the end, you adapt to what you have. Consequently, we get an idea of how our ancestors lived. It is exciting that, for example, in your living room there are 17th century furniture that belonged to the first Marquis de Vivot (today we are in the tenth generation of Marquises).
IRMA: If you could fulfill any dream or vision for Can Vivot, what would it be?
SOLEDAD DE MONTANER: All the work we are doing is to grow in the future. We would like Can Vivot to become a cultural center where visits, acts and events can be carried out. That everyone can come to visit and enjoy this space with cultural activities, a pleasant bar in one of its patios, and a tour full of history. Can Vivot is a house to be lived in and enjoyed by everyone. It has to be accessible to everyone who values it.