In the centre and south of Spain the weather is warm and dry, so patios are like an oasis where the temperature stays colder thanks to the shade and the vegetation, plants and flowers give colour and life to the house.
The decoration usually includes ceramics in the walls or floors, as well as iron forged windows ans sometimes colourful glasses.
Water is a very important value, most of the times you’ll find a fountain or a well (and a cistern to collect rain water)
The medieval cities of Spain, that where important under the Islamic domination (Al-Andalus), have even nowadays some heritage of the urban planning and house architecture. Here in Toledo we can see this in the sobriety of the houses outside, and rich decorations inside. The patios were the main living space during the summer, and the most important part of your house to show to visitors.
Corpus Christi celebrations and the Competition of the Patios
In Toledo the Competition of the Patios is very important. It is hold during the Corpus Christi celebrations (the dates change every year, but it’s usually in June)
The decoration and care of a Patio is something very important for many owners, and it’s the pride of their houses.
Be respectful, but nosy
Most frequently in Toledo the big houses are owned by more than one family, and the patio is the common area, you’ll find there the entrances to each individual house. And before you get into the patio, you’ll need to cross the gate on the street and the gate across the hall.
Sometimes the first gate is open, and you can get a glimpse of the Patio. When this happens, is usually because the owners don’t mind letting you have a look of their hidden treasure.