SACCHETTI, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1690, Torino, d. 1764, Madrid)

General view

La Granja hunting lodge, San Ildefonso

From 1720 on, palaces became the subject of intense activity in Spain. The outmoded Spanish palaces were seen as inadequate for the needs of the new Bourbon dynasty. La Granja was the first major project undertaken by the Bourbon kings.

The hunting lodge of the Castilian kings, situated in the mountains, served as summer residence for the Hyeronymite order from the fifteenth to the early eighteenth century. Philip V acquired the land in 1720 and started the project. After several stages, the garden façade was completed in 1736, built by Giovanni Battista Sacchetti (1690-1764) from Juvarra's plan. This façade is completely overtaken by the Roman Baroque. Four giant columns in the central pavilion and a subtly graduated row of giant pilasters adjacent to them give the façade a ceremonial power that had not been seen before in Spanish palace architecture. The park layout was placed in the hands of French garden designers and sculptors.