The first owner of the building appears to be Melchora Marullo, Marquise of La Floresta. She moved from Sicily to VillaJardines in 1627 after she widowed Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas, regent of the Council of Italy. The building was her official residence in Madrid.
In 1627 Mariana Melchora Marullo and Patti moved to her residence in calle de Jardines (Madrid) from Sicily after she widowed Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas, regent of the Council of Italy under the kings Philip III and Philip IV of Spain. She was part of a prominent Italian family and she enjoyed a lot of political power in the south of Italy. Her husband was an influential advisor to the Kings of Spain (and Sicily) until his death.
The building’s first evidence dates back to 1627. Nothing garantees that the building is older, but she probably owned the house before she moved to Madrid. She married in 1606 to a Spaniard who had been living in Madrid until 1602. They travelled very often to the court, until he died in Madrid in 1626. Nevertheless, the first notice only appears in 1627, when she moved to Madrid. At the time, calle de los Jardines was fully developed with new buildings in a fast growing city.
Bernarda Diana Quintana-Dueñas was their only daughter and she married three times to three prominent Spanish men but did not have descendants with any. In 1625 she married Fernando de Toledo, Lord of Galvez, who died in 1644. Then she married with Juan de Bracamonte, uncle of the president of the Council of Italy from 1658 to 1664 and later on with Juan Cardenas, whose two relatives had also been presidents of the Council of Italy.
Who were they all? Did they all live in the building? Let’s try to get back to the 17th Century and see who was who.
Until 1626: Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas, Regent of the Council of Italy and Proconsul of His Majesty, Marquis of la Floresta di Trifontane
Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas became regent of the Council of Italy in 1602. He was sworn Baron of La Floresta and Lord of the San Giorgio and Grasseta feuds in Sicily on May 20th, 1606 when he married Melchiora Marullo and Patti, daughter of the latest Baroness, Diana Patti. King Philip III of Spain awarded him with the title of Marchis della Floresta di Trifontane on April 10th, 1619.
The Quintana-Dueñas were part of a Spanish family of wealthy wool merchants who exported during the 15th Century to Flanders, France and Italy under the reigns of emperor Charles I and king Philip II of Spain.
The government of the Spanish monarchs was organized through specialized structures called councils, with headquarters in Madrid. The most important ones were the Council of Castille, the Council of Aragon, the Council of Navarre, the Council of The Indies, the Council of Italy, the Council of Flanders and the Council of Portugal. The Council of Italy (or officially the Royal and Supreme Council of Italy) was the organization that served the Italian businesses for the Spanish kings. It controlled the Habsburg territories in Italy and it was composed of a president and six regents: two for the Kingdom of Naples, two for the Kingdom of Sicily and two the Duchy of Milan (in all three cases, one Castilian and one Italian).
The beginning of the 17th Century saw the rise of “proconsuls” under the reign of Philip III of Spain. They were influential Spanish representatives in other territories outside the iberian peninsula (basically Europe and overseas). As regent of the Council of Italy, Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas exercised independent judgment and even implemented his own independent policies in the absence of a strong royal leadership, as it happened with Philip IV.
Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas died in Madrid in 1626.
From 1627 to 1646: Mariana Melchora Marullo and Patti, Baroness of La Floresta, Countess de la Plaza, Baroness of Saint George
Melchora was the daughter of Francesco Marullo (Mauroli) and Diana Patti, governors of the territory of La Floresta from 1573 to 1605. Upon her mother’s death, in 1605 she became the Baroness of La Floresta, Countess de la Plaza and Baroness of Saint George (she disputed the titles with a relative). She married Antonio Quintana-Dueñas in 1606.
Melchora was an Italian noblewoman who obtained a lot of authority in the Kingdom of Sicily from the kings Philip III and Philip IV of Spain, with the help of her husband, Antonio Quintana-Dueñas. She lived most of her time in Italy, but spent a great deal in Madrid lobbying for her interests. She held a long-lasting territorial dispute with an Italian cousin and forced the personal intervention of a very young King Philip IV of Spain.
On June 8th, 1616 the Supreme Council of Italy awarded the ownership of the Barony de la Plaza (Kingdom of Sicily) to Mariana Melchora Marullo and Patti over her cousin Antonio Statela Caruso Roca and Patti, Marchis de Spacafurno, who refused to accept. The Supreme Council of Italy confirmed it again on March 14th 1618, but again he refused to accept. In 1619 Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas became Marquis de la Floresta di Trifontane in Italy. In 1621 Philip IV became King of Spain (and Sicily) and confirmed Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas as regent of the Council of Italy in 1622. On september 20th, 1624 King Philip IV condemned Antonio Statela to return to her cousin Mariana Melchora all her historical rights over the Barony de la Plaza and condemned him to pay the costs of the whole legal process, as well as all the historical income since 1618 plus interests. In 1624 Mariana Melchora and Antonio Quintana-Dueñas consolidated a great authority in the south of Italy, with the personal blessings of the king himself.
Mariana Melchora Quintana-Dueñas Marullo and Patti widowed in 1626, moved to Madrid 1627 and died in Madrid in 1646.
Until 1646: Bernarda Diana Quintana-Dueñas Marullo, Marquisse de la Floresta di Trifontane, Countess de la Plaza, Baroness of Saint George
Diana Bernarda was born in 1604 and became the governor of the territory of the Floresta when her father died in 1626. He had built a small church dedicated to St. George. She was known as “Melchora” Quintana-Dueñas.
She married three times, but she never had children.
- Fernando Suarez de Toledo y Silva, Count of Quintana, Lord of Galvez and heir to two of the noblest Spanish families, knight of the Order of Calatrava. They married on October 26th 1625. He died in 1644.
- Juan de Bracamonte Guzman, born in 1593, knight of the Order of Santiago, uncle of Gaspar de Bracamonte, Count of Peñaranda, Viceroy of Naples from 1658 to 1664 under Philip IV.
- Garcia de Cardenas Ulloa y Zuñiga, born in 1622, Marquis of La Mota, second nephew of Juan de Zuñiga, president of the Council of Italy from 1599 to 1600; and also related to Manuel de Acevedo y Zúñiga, president of the Council of Italy from 1622 and 1624.
Melchora lived and died in the Floresta and was always sensitive to the spiritual and material needs of the different governments, the financial difficulties of the citizens and the maintenance of the Catholic worship. Her memory has been passed on for generations and it still lives in the memory of the elderly as an unprecedented example of a heartfelt sensitivity.
Melchora Quintana-Dueñas died in Floresta on October 27th, 1675, childless. The historical branch of the Quintana-Dueñas dinasty ended with her. In 1677 the Floresta territory, and thus the title, in Italy was inherited by Prince Paolo Ardoino, her nephew. In Spain, the title of Marquise of la Floresta di Trifontane was inherited by Miguel de Salabert Quintana-Dueñas, third Marchis della Floresta di Trifontane (Madrid, 1775-1827).
Until 1646: Fernando Suarez de Toledo y Silva, Lord of Galvez, Jumela and Las Moralejas, Knight of the Order of Calatrava
On July 4th 1613 Fernando Suarez de Toledo became the Lord of Galvez. He was the third son of Juan Suarez de Toledo and Paula Castelví, but the death of his two older brothers allowed him to inherit the title. He belonged to the Toledo dinasty, one of whose members, Garcia de Toledo, was Viceroy of Sicily in 1565, and another, Alvaro de Toledo, was the Royal Chaplain in Sicily. Fernando de Toledo was a member of the Order of Calatrava.
As Lord of Galvez he was very active and increased his mayorazgo (a legal arrangement for which the first son inherits all the properties associated with a title of nobility). On an annual basis, he designated mayors and local administrators dealing with justice and taxation, with jurisdiction throughout the manors of Galvez, Jumela and Las Moralejas. In 1621 he managed to recover the village of La Moraleja.
On October 26th 1625, he maried Melchora Quintana-Dueñas and became the Marchis of La Floresta and Count of Quintana de la Plaza. In 1628 he increased his territorial power, annexing the Huerta del Rey to his existing territories. In 1639 he bought more land in Monte Aragon, which had previously belonged to the Order of Calatrava.
In 1636 Fernando de Toledo asked the king Philip IV of Spain to make the Italian title “Marchese della Floresta di Trifontane” valid as a Spanish title, and thus he became in Spain the Marqués de la Floresta. When he died in 1644, the title of Lord of Galvez was inherited by his sister, the Marquise de San Vicente.
From 1646: Pedro Fernández de Saavedra, unknown
There is nothing recorded concerning Pedro Fernandez de Saavedra, apart from buying the building, along with his wife Maria López, to the heirs of Mariana Melchora de Quintana-Dueñas on June 29th 1646.