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Palma Gran Hotel and the Civil War

Looking at the fine Modernista building which today houses Palma's CaixaForum cultural centre

Looking at the fine Modernista building which today houses Palma's CaixaForum cultural centre would give us no clues to a dark period in its history.

Built in 1903 by the Catalan architect Lluís Domènech y Montaner, it was the first building of any importance in the Modernist style in Mallorca, but was to be followed by many more.

Constructed to house the magnificent Gran Hotel, it saw many illustrious guests until it closed its doors forever when the Spanish Civil War started in 1936. It was then that it became a luxurious
billet for a squadron of Italian airmen - Falchi delle Baleari (Balearic Falcons) - sent by Mussolini to fight for Franco's Nationalists.

They flew Savoia Marchetti SM-79's, known as Sparrowhawks, a 3 engined bomber which was faster than any Republican plane, and bombed mainland towns with impunity.

Exactly 75 years ago on 16th to 18th March, these planes flying under the Spanish flag carried out terrible raids on the city of Barcelona, killing and injuring thousands of innocent civilians
indiscriminately.

There are few signs today of the Italian presence in Mallorca during the war save for a monument, designed and made in Italy, in Palma cemetery dedicated to the 66 Italian servicemen who losts
their lives here.