Living El Terreno

The history of El Terreno is quite an interesting one. The area was actually the result of a massive exodus of Palma´s inhabitants due to the Yellow Fever in 1821. At that time, the are was simply a few wooden barracks stacked together in the middle of the woods, a haven for those who escaped the city to what then were simply suburbs. It was not until the 1930´s that the first real properties were built. The neighbourhood was connected to the city via a mule tram and until the middle 1950´s, it was actually the only possible access to Andratx. And so, it was just around that road that a neighbourhood life started grow with its restaurants and squares, its bars and unique characters. In this sense, the painter Santiago Rusignol arrived from Catalonia and wrote to his friend Joaquín Mir describing the area of El Terreno as the unknown Paradise of the Mediterranean. From then on, those who wanted to experience a more Mediterranean and somewhat rural Mallorca but without losing the city´s proximity, were drawn to the area. The new inhabitants avoided all that had to do with the “manorial” or “stately” character of Palma´s old town and instead searched for a holiday home that would host a calm family life. They started to build properties with kitchen gardens and yards for poultry, imitating the old stlye, all of them with seaviews and the most privileged ones with preivate access to the sea. Nowadays it´s difficult to find one of those villas in good state but they survive like the jewels of the past in some of El Terreno´s back streets. Villas that reflect the European influence in their architectonic structures. Then Ava Gardner arrived, and Benedetti, Robert Graves and Erol Flynn, whose yacht would be moored just in front of his front line house. In fact, slowly but steadily the area became one of Europe´s most demanded areas. Today, all the emblematic places are already closed but in those days Ava Gardner would have a drink at Joe´s with the best dry Martini in city and some years later Jimi Hendrix would be throwing his guitar against Sargent Pepper´s ceilings. Mario Benedetti would write poems for the American marines and the great Xavier Cugat would lead his orquestra in the most sophisticated ball room in Spain, Tito´s. Today, the only remains from the peaceful life of the area are the Hostal America or La Posada de Bellver. However, the area is gaining strength and being somehow reborn. Villas are being restored and fortunately more attention is being given to the area by overseas buyers who decide to purchase the properties to reform them and to live them and thus, rescue the old spirit of El Terreno, a bohemian Mediterranean jewel, a few Km away from Palma.