This small, picturesque town in the mountains is arguably where Mallorcan tourism began one cold winter in 1838,
when the composer Frédéric Chopin and his lover, the female writer George Sand, rented some rooms at the
former monastery here. Shunned by locals, the couplehad a miserable time, as portrayed in Sand’s book, A
Winter in Majorca. However, Mallorcans today are proudof their Chopin-Sand connection, and the book is sold in
every tourist shop. The former monastery, also referred to as the Charterhouse, is Mallorca’s second most-visited building after Palma’s cathedral For highlights of the Museu Municipal de Valldemossa, which is set within the former monastery, (see Museu Municipal de Valldemossa)
1 Former Monastery Complex
The town’s top attraction is the former monastery where Chopin and Sand stayed, which also incorporates
a palace and an excellent municipal museum (see Museu Municipal de Valldemossa). Given to the Carthusian Order
in 1399, the estate was a monastery until 1835, when all religious orders were ousted from the island. It was
bought by a French banker who rented the rooms to Chopin.
2 Monastery: Church
The Neoclassical church has a cupola decorated with frescoes by Fray Bayeu, the brother-in-law of Francisco de Goya. It is distinguished by barrel vaulting and gilt-edged stucco work.
3 Monastery: Cloisters
From the church, you can enter the atmospheric cloisters, known as the Myrtle Court. Around them are six chapels and ten spacious monks’ cells.
4 Monastery: Pharmacy
Laden with tinctures and elixirs, a deconsecrated chapel recreates the estate’s original pharmacy. George
Sand bought marshmallow here in an attempt to cure Chopin’s tuberculosis.
5 Monastery: Prior’s Cell
The head monk had a private oratory, magnificent library, elegant audience chamber, bedroom, dining room,
Ave María (praying alcove) and, of course, a sumptuous garden.
6 Monastery: Cells 2 and 4
Said to be the rooms that Chopin and Sand rented, they are full of memorabilia, including Chopin’s piano,
Sand’s manuscripts, busts and portraits.
7 Monastery: Palace
The core of the monastery was originally the site of the palace built by Jaume II for his son Sanç. The rooms are regally decorated – an especially beautiful piece is the 12th-century wood-carving of the Madonna and Child.
8 Old Town
The old town spills down a hillside, surrounded by farming terraces and marjades (stone walls) created 1,000 years ago by the Moors. The name “Valldemossa” derives from that of the original Moorish landowner, Muza.
9 Church of Sant Bartomeu
Near the bottom of the old town, a rustic, Baroque-style church is dedicated to one of the patron saints of the town. It was built in 1245, shortly after Jaume I conquered Mallorca, and extended in the early 18th century. The bell tower and façade date from 1863.
10 Birthplace of Santa Catalina Thomás
Mallorca’s only saint, Catalina Thomàs (known affectionately as the “Beatata” for both her saintliness and diminutive stature), was born in 1533 at a house on C/Rectoría, 5. The house was converted into an oratory in 1792 and features saintly scenes and a statue of the “Beatata” holding a bird. Museu Municipal de Valldemossa
1 Guasp Printworks
On the ground floor of the museum you’ll find a 17th-century hand press and one of Europe’s finest collections of 1,584 intricate boxwood engravings. On the walls are prints executed on the press, which is still in working order.
2 Archduke Luis
Salvador of Hapsburg-Lorena and Bourbon Also on the ground floor is a room dedicated to an indefatigable chronicler of Mediterranean life, whose passion was Mallorcan culture. His nine volumes on the Balearics are the most exhaustive study ever made of the archipelago.
3 Mallorcan Painters of the Tramuntana
Mallorca’s mountainous Tramuntana region has long attracted landscape painters. Among the outstanding Mallorcan artists shown here are Joan Fuster, Bartomeu Ferrà and Antoni Ribas.
4 Catalan and Spanish Painters of the Tramuntana
Works by Santiago Rusiñol and Sebastià Junyer, and the more Impressionistic Eliseo Meifrén are displayed.
5 International Painters of the Tramuntana
These include the illustrious American Impressionist John Singer Sargent and contemporary Italian master Aligi Sassu, whose works owe much to Futurism, Surrealism and Expressionism.
6 Contemporary Art: Juli Ramis
The contemporary collection was conceived as a spotlight on Juli Ramis (1909–90), one of the most important Mallorcan painters of the 20th century. Works include his signature Dama Blava and those of his Paris contemporaries, showing a cross-fertilization of influences.
Of note is El Vol de l’Alosa – Miró’s whimsical illustrations for the works of Mallorcan poets.
On one wall in the last room is The Burial of Count Orgaz – a series of 10 engravings by Picasso, dating from
1966. The themes here are strongly sexual, as in many of the great artist’s works.
Also in the last room are a few works by the other great Catalan painter, Antoni Tàpies. Master of an elegant
Abstract Expressionism all his own, his work has little in common with the more Surrealistic images of his
compatriots Miró and Dalí, being more understated, poetic and monumental.
10 Other 20th-Century Artists
Finally, there are some small but significant engravings and lithographs by modern international artists, including German Surrealist Max Ernst, Italian futurist Robert Matta, the great Alberto Giacometti, French Dadaist André Masson and the English masters Henry Moore and Francis Bacon.