Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there was a huge trade development in Alacant, thanks to which a bourgeoisie emerged in the capital whose influence spread to nearby towns. This wealthy bourgeoisie began to enjoy the leisure, which was visible in cafes, theatres, bullfights, public baths and religious celebrations as well as profane, where carnivals, literary contests and floral games stood out. This was intended to show the social class to which they belonged, rubbing shoulders with the wealthy classes of the capital, and seeking a social recognition similar to that of the traditional nobility.

It is from this moment when these well-off classes began to buy the best estates of the Horta d’Alacant, as sign of social distinction and wealth. Villas were acquired in Orgegia, La Condomina, Tángel, Santa Faz and in the municipalities of El Campello, Mutxamel and Sant Joan d’Alacant. These estates were not just for spending short periods of time, but were occupied from April-May to September-October and sometimes until early December. This activity was known among the local bourgeoisie as the ‘veraneo’ (summer break).

oligarquía

Many of these private dwellings became fashionable centres of social gathering and in them they drank coffee, organized gatherings, receptions and parties as well as some musical and theatrical spectacles. The events were held in the halls or in the open spaces such as the gardens of the villas. Some estates had their own theatres as was the case of El Conde or La Paz of Sant Joan. All this attracted the visits of important personalities of the society of the moment. Emilio Castelar, Benito Pérez Galdós and Isaac Peral are worth mentioning. Also the poet and civil governor of Alicante Ramón de Campoamor and Campoosorio resided with his wife Guillermina in the property O’Gorman, currently disappeared, where he wrote some of his most famous poems.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the presence of nobles such as the Count of Casa-Rojas, the Baron of Finestrat, the Marquis of Algorfa, the Count of Santa Clara and the Marquis of Rioflorido, evidenced the prosperous economic activity of the capital, together with the commercial impulse that the Horta itself provided with its agricultural exploitations, with the paradigmatic case of the wine production of the Fondillón.