When I was in Cordoba, I could not miss a visit of some patios in the old city because the adorable patios of Cordoba are really appealing. There are some which are luxurious others that are deeply popular, but all are original and extraordinarily clean, introverted, intimate and decorated with plants and flowers. The patios have two origins: Roman and Arabian. The Cordovan patio was the intimate "agora" of the Roman and the intimate corner of the Arabic.
Do not believe that the patio is only seen in the big houses. The patios are like small gardens that flood the house with joy, beauty and liberty, and that is why the patios are present even in the most modest homes and its reason is thus the same in the palace that in the humblest lodgings.
The patios of Cordoba communicate directly with the rooms and the galleries of the houses. Sometimes the communication between the patio and the interior is done through the intermediary of windows and balconies, sometimes by porches or even balustrades
The walls that surround the patios are covered literally of flowers and trailing plants. Oranges, lemon trees and flowers of all sorts perfuming the whole patio give it a small air of continual feast and offer us some tranquillity in the heart of the city.
The patios are so much part of the city life that during the first two weeks of May, there is a Patio Festival during which people exuberantly decorate their patios in order to get a prize.
The patios that you can admire in Cordoba are very numerous, very different one from another, all have their particular style. The 14 patios of the palace of the Marquis of Viana are definitely worth a visit. Entrance is €6 and the patios are open to the public Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 1pm and 4pm to 6pm (closed on Saturdays afternoons and Sundays).
The Palacio Museo de Viana is a beautiful mansion covering an area of 6,500 square metres. Inside you can appreciate the evolution of the Cordovan architecture from the 14th century until nowadays, as well as the most diverse types of craft: pavements with Roman mosaics, carpentry, etc. However, the patios are in my opinion more interesting than the interior. The 15th century patio at the entrance is pleasantly decorated, like all the others in which there are numerous orange trees, cypresses, water fountains and flowers and it is a real pleasure going from a patio to another and discover a different style, different influence.
Of course, there are other patios to visit in the area (Plaza Obispo; Calle Basilio 50; Calle Cardinal Herrero 16, Calle Badanas 15, Calle José Rey, Calle Don Rodrigo, Calle of Enmedio 25 and 29, etc.). You can ask at the Tourist Office which ones are open during your stay in Cordoba.