...a Temple of Balconies and Embroidery
La Casa de los Balcones is one of the stops on the beautiful and noble village of La Orotava. Its façade, with its long and majestic wooden balcony show us the importance that this house once had along with others in the area. Its three-floor façade is truly captivating, mixing elements such as iron and Tea wood...
Tenerife Travel Secret
The Tea wood of the Canary pine tree (Madera de Tea del Pino Canario) that you can see in the balcony in Casa de los Balcones has NEVER been treated, which is particularly interesting, since it was built in the 17th century (1632) and can still be seen as of unique beauty. Therefore, the house still emanates the wood resin, even though the time starts to leave some noticeable marks.
The wood of the Canary pine is difficult to work with, so the work done at Casa de Los Balcones is even more spectacular with all details that are spread over the house, such as the beams and front ceilings, ... a true monument to a carpenter line of work.
The facade is a real pleasure for the visitors: three floors featuring a wooden balcony located on the top. On the second floor you can observe five balconies with iron railings, fixed on wooden beams, decorated with low relief drawings of geometric and plant forms. The central balcony highlights the Coat of Arms of Fonseca.
Today you can visit the house almost completely, as well as the museum (located on the second floor) in which the life and customs of a house that was built in the 17th century and few several centuries thereafter are recreated, as Casa Lercaro. What we see in the museum shows many details to consider of both the simple life in general in Canaries (kitchen, servants area, pantry), and the life of the social elite of the pueblo (dining room, bedroom, living room), although a comfortable life, was not at all a kind of ostentatious living.
The main entrance, with access from Calle San Francisco, gives you three options:
- To the left is an area where you can purchase different articles related to the Canary Islands in general;
- From the front you can go directly to the large patio;
- To the right there is and access to the area where you can buy tablecloths (industrial and artisanal) and other traditional craft items from Tenerife and the Canary Islands in general. Continuing in this area you will reach another room where you find the real treasure of the house: handmade tablecloths and towels.
Occasionally you can see how they perform a unique craft activity... (without the help of the industrial equipment, which means real handmade items). It is the art of the Canary embroidery in which mainly women calan (local embroidery technique) yarn fabrics with sophisticated designs, shapes and varied types (such as corner rosettes, sugar flower, etc). An activity that few people nowadays have the knowledge.
Tenerife Travel Secret
A "simple" big tablecloth with napkins may be the work of two people who devote three hours a day in a month to conclude it.
At Casa de los Balcones many kinds of tablecloths and centrepieces are sold, both artisanal and industrial. And that's where it is one of the main purposes of Casa de los Balcones – to convey these products to the market and detect the difference with industrial ones, not only for the price, but the quality of work.
There are different types of embroidery from different towns of the island and other Canary Islands, such as embroidery of La Palma.
In the courtyard you can enjoy most of the details of the house, as well as write few words – as many visitors do so – about the house in her guestbook. In the far back area of the courtyard you will find a wooden wine press once used to produce some local wines. In this area you will find various wines from the different denominations of origin of Tenerife.
Tenerife Travel Secret
The house also tries to quench the curiosity of visitors describing in panels (in Spanish and English) the different tools, techniques, music instruments or features of the house.
La Casa de Los Balcones - Getting There
La Casa de Los Balcones has quite few shops around the island, but the original house is located in the heart of La Orotava, in Calle San Francisco, in front of Casa del Turista:
La Casa de Los Balcones - Calle San Francisco 3. 38300 - La Orotava, Tenerife
I can hardly be objective, since I am from La Orotava and La Casa de los Balcones is part of an endearing time of my childhood. I remember we used to take walks – with my brother and my cousin – down the Calle San Francisco after having lunch, doing time before returning to school. And that's what I would recommend our Tenerife Travel Secret's visitors: not only go in haste to this historic and beautiful house... enjoy the feeling of being in another time, discover an old work as it is the “calado” and if it is your wish taste and buy some of the typical gastronomic products sold in the rear patio area (where is located an old winery). You will certainly have a great time there.