The Haunted Mansion of Lercaro


The Lercaro mansion in La Laguna, Tenerife, built by order of Fernando de Lercaro in 1593, is an extraordinary Genoese inspired palace with Mannerist elements, which over the years has absorbed and incorporated a number of houses and adjacent buildings.

The Lercaro were by far the richest family in Tenerife in the XVI century and part of the seventeenth century, occupying a prominent place in Tenerife society of the time, which made them the target of much comment and many criticisms, some undoubtedly deserved.

Of Genoese origin, this family of bankers are now linked to crypto-Judaism by some recent historical research despite the paradox that some members locally led the dreaded Catholic institution, the Spanish Inquisition. They became progressively more and more important by making strategic  political marriages of convenience, a consequence of which gave rise to a famous family legend. This involved the unfortunate Catalina Lercaro, who on the day of her marriage to a rich wealthy man, much older than her, flung herself into the well of the family mansion, dying immediately.

Apparently because of the manner of her death, and the customs of the time, it is believed that the unfortunate lady was buried in the old mansion because Christian burial in the cemetery was denied. As a result, there are those who say that the spectre of Catalina walks around the mansion causing an undeniable fear among the keepers of the majestic building, which has led to the idea that this magnificent historic Tenerife mansion is haunted.

The main façade of the mansion has a great symmetry of upper and lower windows, all framed in smooth stone, the traditional Canarian eaves in tile. The central part is framed in the same stone as the windows, as is the main entrance door.

The main entrance, splits into two parts. The lower one where the family´s coat of arms stands, is crowned by a circular pediment topped in separate scrolls, and the higher one consists of a large window framed and topped by another circular pediment. All of this stonework follows the characteristic Italian school of scroll works.

In the jambs and lintels of the door of the hall, there are tempera frescoes, with decorative motifs matching the architectural designs in the stonework of the doorposts and garlands on the lintels.

Crossing the hall you find the main staircase at the left side, built with the same stone as the exterior window and door stone framework, and courtyard columns.

Finally, the courtyard stands out with its excellent woodwork in the closed gallery sash windows on the second floor, and the characteristic anthropomorphic motifs with an intertwined styling, that crown each of the existing wooden demi columns that stand between the windows.

This beautiful historic Tenerife mansion was declared of Cultural Interest and categorized as a Monument April 29, 2008.