You are here

5. Idiakez Palace

This is one of Tolosa’s most singular palaces: Idiakez Palace.

It is one of the town’s oldest sites, although it initially looked nothing like it does today. In days gone by the site was home to a tower house visited by important personalities, such as Emperor Charles V, Elizabeth of Valois, Princess María Josepha of Saxony, Ferdinand VII, María Cristina of Spain and Isabella II. The tower house was destroyed in one of the many fires suffered by Tolosa throughout its history.

This palace in Baroque style was raised in its place, between 1605 and 1619. The facade looking onto the river is built over the ancient walls. And on the other side, towards the square, you can still see the original Idiaquez coat of arms. This palace was the birthplace of Alonso de Idiaquez y Yurramendi, Secretary of State under Charles V, Knight of the Order of St James and one of the most important characters in Tolosa’s history.


What were you doing last summer?

they asked the cadger.

-All day long, and all night too,

I sang, if you please.

-Making music, were you?

Very well, now dance!


This is indeed a quote from the famous fable about The Ant and the Grasshopper because, in the mid-18th century, the palace was inherited by Felix Maria Samaniego, a famous writer of fables, who went on to become the mayor of Tolosa in 1775.

Later, the building was turned into a Casino. And today it is one of the thirty or so gastronomic societies existing in the town, known as the Casino de Tolosa. The interior, with its appearance of a medieval castle, was designed by Nestor Basterretxea, one of the most important Basque artists and sculptors in his day.

The song you can hear is the anthem of the society which, like the others, plays an active part in the festivities. In fact, the Casino organises the Mushroom Fair, which every autumn attracts hordes of people in a festive atmosphere. A gathering at which to sample mushrooms and perretxikos served in a thousand and one ways. Yet another gastronomic delicacy to enjoy in Tolosa!

Continue straight ahead to the next stop: the Town Hall.