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About the finca Son Joan Arnau

This estate, was the former Benidurri farmhouse documented in the Royal Property Distribution Book, Llibre del Repartiment (1232), and corresponded to Guillem Arnau, whose descendant gave the property its name. It is one of the most outstanding buildings in Lloret de Vistalegre.

A Joan Arnau appears in 1451, during the Revolt called “Aixecament Forà” as a Government delegate in Sineu. According to J.M. Bover, the first member of the Arnau family to establish residence in the Sineu area was Ponç Arnau, who participated in the Conquest of 1229. In the 5th generation, Pere Arnau executed his will in 1473 and founded a feudal estate on the Son Marrón property. At the beginning of the 16th Century, the Arnau estate was divided into three parts: One part of Son Joan Arnau, a property which passed to the Despuig family in the 17th Century; one part of Arnau de Binitareg, which was passed on to Joan Arnau de Pacs (succeeded by the Costa family and Joan Trujols del Mercat family); and the part of the Arnau de Son Marrón, which passed to the Figueres family and the Ferrer de Sant Jordi family.

In the first half of the 17th Century, Joan Despuig i Despuig purchased the property of Son Joan Arnau from the last land-owner of the Arnau lineage. In 1656, this new owner left the property as a dowry to the Dominican Nuns Convent of Santa Catalina de Sena, founded in Palma in 1658. Shortly before in 1652, the houses were used as a “llatzaret” (Leper’s Hospital) for the plague victims. In 1818, it belonged to the Convent of Santa Catalina de Sena; it then had large houses, with chapel, wine cellar, and animal-driven mill. The seizure and sale laws of Mendizábal expelled the nuns from the Convent and expropriated their property, which included the possession of Son Joan Arnau. In 1862, it belonged to the Ship-owner and Merchant, Ignasi Fuster. The Fuster estate was inherited by the Aguiló “Cera” (Wax) family. In 1900, it belonged to Joan Aguiló Valentí and in 1953, it was owned by Joan Aguiló Aguiló. At present, it belongs to the Coll family which was purchased by Josep Coll in 1987.

In the houses of Son Joan Arnau in 1706, Jacint Montserrat Fontanet Llabrés was born when his parents were tenants of the property; he was an exemplary “payés” (peasant), author of a work titled L’art de Conró (1747), designer of the Massanella channel (1750) and according to tradition, the inventor of the “carretó de batre”, a threshing machine, he died in Mancor de la Vall in 1762.

To the left of the houses, there is a curious Casa de les Nines (Doll House) with miniatures, built in 1884.

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