Mallorca’s rich history of its “possessions”

Today, Mallorca is renowned for its beautiful beaches and seaside resorts and tourism drives its economy. However, going back even 70 years ago, the island relied on its land and local produce for survival. From the 13th century onwards, Mallorca’s rural heartland was split up into estates called “possessions”. Each of them were quite isolated from the other and therefore all of them were self-sufficient providing not only for the land owners but also for the many labourers that would farm the land. 

In 1785, a famous map was drawn up by Cardenal Antoni Despuig in incredible detail listing all the “possessions” on the island which then totalled 1,250. This map was to become the starting point for a Cultural Tour back in time to discover a fascinating side of the island steeped in history, folklore, and gastronomy. Nature and the passing seasons dictated the rural social structure of each estate where Mallorca’s ancient traditions evolved; the possessions in the Sierra Tramuntana would mainly produce olive oil, farming the stone-walled terraces along the mountains (an agricultural method originally introduced by the Moors), the possessions on the flatter plains would produce grain and wine. 

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Today, the main problem that many families face who own a possession, is the sheer size of the property and land they have to maintain that makes them economically unviable. However, help is at hand with the launch of a new local organisation called Itinerem that has created a platform that brings this “Cultural Tour” to life and features many of the island’s existing “possessions”, mostly owned by the original Mallorcan families. 

Itinerem has been established with the objective of protecting this valuable Mallorcan heritage and preserve it for future generations. The organisation sets out to provide a range of tourist activities that will generate income to help the owners maintain these estates and prevent them falling into decay. A digital platform has been created to bring the “possessions” together in one place to offer a range of experiences from day visits to a possession with a guided tour by the owner, to special al fresco picnics in the grounds, to accommodation stays. Currently there are almost 20 possessions on the website with more coming online with the goal of featuring around 50 estates by the end of the year.

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For the first time, a visitor will be able to see behind the walls of some of these amazing estates, often with the owner, and discover its unique history at first hand.  Most of the "possessions" on the website can be hired for a special celebration in a very special, idyllic Mallorcan atmosphere.  Itinerem also features a selection of authentic experiences, from an outing at sea in a traditional island boat called a “Llaut”; to seeing how local produce is farmed and harvested; to sampling authentic gastronomy in an historic setting.

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