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VILLA JUSTA, by D. Luís Olleros y Mancilla

Updated: Apr 5

Photo of the palace currently

The grounds for the construction of Villa Justa, corresponding to the old orchards of Álamo and Passarinhos and the Olive Grove of Álamos, were acquired by D. Luís Olleros y Mancilla, residing in Badajoz, from the noble and large landowner of Elvas, Joaquim Guilherme de Vasconcelos Azevedo e Silva, residing on Olivença Street, and his wife, D. Catarina Amália de Vasconcelos de Azevedo e Silva, on January 11, 1888, for 2,600,000 réis. 

The land of Horta dos Passarinhos bordered to the north with the olive grove of the grantors, to the south with the olive grove of José de Andrade, to the east with the Horta do Macedo and the olive grove of António da Nazaré Lopes, and to the west with the olive groves of the grantors and Francisco Maria Rodrigues.

Horta dos Álamos bordered to the north with the olive grove of Joaquim José da Guerra, to the south with the olive grove of the grantors, to the east with the olive grove of João Joaquim Bagulho, and to the west with Horta dos Passarinhos. 

D. Luís Ollero y Mancilla

The Olive Grove of Álamos bordered to the north with Horta dos Álamos, to the south with Horta dos Passarinhos, to the east with the olive grove of the grantors, and to the west with the olive grove of Vicente António de Brito Falé.

D. Luís Olleros y Mansilla was one of the wealthiest landowners in Badajoz. Born in Bejar, in the Province of Salamanca, on March 17, 1836, he studied at the University of Salamanca, where he quickly obtained a bachelor's degree in Philosophy on July 25, 1851. 

He later enrolled at the University of Madrid, where he graduated in Law, and began practicing law on August 12, 1861. He established himself in Badajoz and, over the years, increased the already large family fortune, becoming the most famous banker in the city

In the year 1887, he decided to build a grand country palace on the outskirts of the city of Elvas, which he called "Villa Justa."

Construction began in March 1888, and as soon as the first excavations for the palace foundations were made near the Ribeira de Gil Navalha, a large Roman necropolis was discovered, whose pieces were collected by the Municipal Council of Elvas. 

Probably, where the palace stands today, there was a Roman villa 2,000 years ago.

Roman villa at Quinta das Longas in 2010. View from the west

After the death of D. Luís Olleros y Mansilla, at the end of the 1890s, Villa Justa was acquired by another Spaniard: D. Luís Arenzana Barrera, who lived there in 1904, as described in the book "Descripção d'Elvas e de seus habitantes."

Book cover "Description of elvas and its inhabitants", António Luciano d'Azevedo - 1904

Accompanied by the legend of the man who went to steal the banner from Spain." D. Luís Arenzana Barrera was a republican very close to the Spanish Radical Party, and due to the persecutions he faced, it was convenient for him to have his residence in Portugal, especially after the establishment of the Portuguese Republic in 1910.

By the late 1930s, after the end of the Spanish Civil War, D. Luis Arenzana Barrera was imprisoned several times for his disaffection to the Francois regime and for belonging to the Spanish Communist Party.

In both the 1920s and 1930s, Arenzana spent much more time in Madrid than in Elvas, always leaving his wife alone.

After his death, Villa Justa was inherited by his wife. Living alone in the palace, the property became popularly known as Quinta da Espanhola.

Despite the loneliness, Arenzana's wife, and later widow, organized various parties, attended by the upper bourgeoisie and Spanish nobility.

King Alfonso XIII

This led to King Alfonso XIII being a regular guest at the house and being known for being the "Spanish woman's" lover.

This situation is difficult to prove, but not surprising. 

Historian José Luis Hernández Garvi lists in his scientific article "La vida loca de Alfonso XIII" several lovers of the King, and although Arenzana's wife is not mentioned, the same historian states that there were probably more lovers than those he managed to discover.


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