Pazo de Oca
Located in Pontevedra (View Map)
Oca is the most impressive and most famous of Galician Pazos (Palaces). Usually referred to as the “Generalife of the north” or “Galician Versailles” it is just 15 miles away from Santiago de Compostela, the final milestone of St. James´s way.Originally a fortress dating from the 12th century, it was during the 18th century when Fernando Gayoso, Marquis of Camarasa transformed it into its current appearance of golden granite stone wall that evokes a forgotten paradise full of romanticism. Through the House of Camarasa it was inherited by its present owner The Casa Ducal de Medinaceli Foundation who is preserving it for future generations.
Above all, the gardens at Oca are what astonish the most. Recently restored to its 18th-century glory, the beauty here is the fusion of formal garden with working farm. The combination of the useful and the decorative here is a natural phenomenon, and not an artificial creation in the mood of Marie-Antoinette’s hameau at Versailles. This is a mossy, misty melancholic garden, wonderful in early spring when the legendary camellias come out.
The Marchioness de Casa Valdes, who was raised in a Pazo and wrote the classic History of Spanish gardens, described a pazo, and Oca was the best example:
“The gardens of Galicia, however strange it may sound, are winter gardens, best visited in the clouds and mists. That is when they become scenes of extraordinary flowering, true explosions of colour. In February the camellias and mimosas start to bloom, acquiring exalted proportions. The pazos of Galicia are extraordinarily beautiful and it is impossible to speak of them without sounding nostalgic.”