A majestic gate welcomes residents and visitors. Through a paved road, surrounded by dense vegetation, we enter into the atrium where the main building and a small chapel of the eighteenth century are located. The facade of the house is a group of elements typical of the nineteenth century, as is shown by its sophisticated torn holes or the decorations of its door-jambs and lintels. But surely its most unique components are the sloping roofs, finished in a ceramic cresting, where a carved wooden tower with an adjacent balcony and a hipped roof covered in zinc stands out.
The house has three floors with large windows and terraces from which to enjoy the gardens, so the magnificent landscape outside is also part of the interior rooms. The gardens are conceived as a place of relaxation and delight. They are articulated through a set of flower beds bordered by the walkways. Iron pergolas form a continuous vault of shrubs, accompanied by sculptures and fountains. There are numerous monumental trees among which there are several ancient trees: a monkey puzzle, a false pepper tree, a Canary Island pine, an Aleppo pine, various stone pine trees, a bougainvillea approximately 100 years old and a ficus over 130 years old. The whole ensemble represents an environment that caresses the visitor through the contrast of chiaroscuros, the sound of the water and birds, the scents of the spring and the shaded spaces where to shelter from the sun during the hot seasons.
On the western part of the estate the service houses with their unique facades coloured in red ochre and yellow white are located. The chapel is located on the eastern part and dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. In the mid-nineteenth century, Ramon de Campoamor y Campoosorio, Civil Governor of Alicante, and Guillermina O’Gorman, a lady from a well-off Irish family settled in Alicante, got married. The chapel was not definitely included in the property until the 40s of the twentieth century. Nowadays the door next to the Avinguda Miguel Hernández (Miguel Hernandez avenue) is still preserved.
The farm has witnessed important events in the history of Sant Joan, going through periods of splendour and decadence. Today the estate’s name is Jardins d’Abril and is used to hold events and celebrations, which offers the possibility for any citizen with certain resources to enjoy, for a few hours, the bourgeois pleasures of the nineteenth century.
Did you know?
During the eighteenth century the estate originally belonged to the canon Abril. Her sister Margarita Abril, and her son Antonio Ferrandis after her, inherited it. Then, in the first half of the nineteenth century, the co-owners of the mansion were Jaime Maisonnave, famous wine businessman and his wife Leonor Cuyatar. In 1863 after the death of his mother, the estate was inherited by the firstborn son Eleuterio Maisonnave y Cutayar, who would become the Mayor of Alicante between 1869 and 1873. After his death in 1890 the estate was sold to his friend Rafael Beltran Ausó, Member of the Parliament, Senator and lawyer from Alicante. Later, the estate passed to his son, Rafael Beltran de la Llave, who was born in the house.
During the Civil War the estate was requisitioned by the Republic to install a children’s colony. The project directed from Madrid by Dolores de Rivas Cherif -wife of the Prime Minister and President of the Second Spanish Republic, Manuel Azaña Díaz- was to evacuate and shelter children from Madrid. One of them, Lauro Olmo, was sent with about 70 boys to this farm. Here they were protected by various teachers from the Educational Missions, as Manuel Giner, who prepared them for admission in the Alacant Secondary School.
For some years the farm now named Jardines de Abril has been used as a space for leisure and events, which has allowed the ensemble to remain in an acceptable state of preservation.