His Royal Highness the Archduke of Austria, Luis Salvador of Habsburg, sailed past the rock of Son Marroig with its characteristic 18 metre hole, and immediately fell in love with the area.
Three years later, he sailed between the two islands again and decided to make this his home. To the surprise of the locals, he bought this rocky, steep piece of land situated in the north-west coast of Mallorca and settled in Son Marroig. This was how the island showed sympathy towards another famous tourist.
The historians attributed the Archdukes predilection for Mallorca to his Mediterranean origin. His mother was the daughter of the king of Naples and Sicily, a region that had already belonged to the Crown of Aragon which had ruled over Mallorca. A talented scientist, the archduke certainly had no trouble communicating with the locals as he could speak 14 languages; something really enviable.
Today, the property of Son Marroig still remains in private hands. However in 1924, a part of it was opened to the public. The father of the current proprietors inaugurated a museum in the archdukes honour., after he entrusted the property to them when he left it because of the outbreack of the First World War.
The museum has not altered since then. In three of the rooms, writings, paintings and photos of Ludwig and his friends, including Sissi, are on display. This is a really romantic place that led into the most turbulent speculations about the love-life of this intelligent and wealthy man. The story is told in the museum …it is a tragic love story.
Ludwig fell in love with a peasant girl, Catalina, the daughter of a humble farmer who could not read or write. However, after a short period of time, just like in My Fair Lady, she became fluent in German, Italian, French and Arabic. The tragic end of the romance arrived with her premature death from leprosy aged just 47.
Luis Salvador lived until he was 68 years old. On 12th October, 1915 he died far away from the island because, as mentioned, the outbreak of the Great War.
Today we thank him for his early contribution to defending the environment. For example he refused to concrete the track that led from the pier of his yacht.