Route through the Royal Sites and Villacastín

Route through the Royal Sites and Villacastín

For all those who want to enjoy nature, history and heritage, we present a good plan, which is to make known with this tour the Real Sites

The Real Sites they are linked to the court, hence they have in common extensive natural sites suitable for hunting or fishing, rich buildings and good roads. From Segovia we went to Riofrío Palace, ordered to build in the s. XVIII by Isabel de Farnesio, widow of Felipe V; the building is located in the middle of a forest of oaks, junipers, ash and gall oaks, surrounded by a stone fence and populated by deer that we will see moving freely. The palace has an exquisite collection of paintings, sculpture and furniture, as well as the Hunting Museum, with a succession of dioramas representing the "hunting pieces" in their particular habitat.

We passed Otero de Herreros where they have been found, in the Deposit of the Hill of the Almadenes, remains of an old mining town of Roman epoch. Next to the path of Valdeprados, we can distinguish the escorial, wells, drainage galleries, furnace sites and whose production supplied Segovia and the surrounding palaces; The Mancomunidad Geominera organizes sporadic guided visits to the group as well as the Industrial Archeology Park of El Zancao, in the nearby Vegas de Matute, where the old lime kilns are conserved, with seven lime kilns that have peculiar portals used to store firewood and as a shelter for the lime guard while watching the fire, this lime was used to disinfect the homes and churches by completely covering them; In the urban core, the Gothic church dedicated to Santo Tomas de Canterbury stands out, in which Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón and some emblazoned houses intervened. We are in an area that was known as the "Andalusian Segovia" because of the abundance of farms and hamlets.

Continuing until Zarzuela del Monte, we have in its Church of San Vicente Mártir, the southernmost Mudejar example of the province. The town has a Pinacoteca de Arte Contemporáneo with more than 200 paintings and international sculptures.

En Villacastín, located in a strategic crossing of old muleteer routes, reached its splendor in the s. XVI, with the boom of the manufacture of wool, being famous its cloths of great quality that competed with those of the own Segovia. It has a rich monumental heritage headed by the majestic Church of San Sebastian, called the "Cathedral of the Sierra"; in Gothic and Renaissance style it was the work of Fray Antonio de Villacastín and Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón. In his interior they emphasize important altarpieces and artistic works. Several emblazoned houses and the Convent of Santa Clara of the s. XVII, complete a highly recommended visit.

We passed Navas de San Antonio and we can deviate to El Espinar, nestled in a pine forest area where there is news that already in the s. XIII the kings enjoyed here a hunting ground. In its church of San Eutropio, from the s. XII, XIV and XVI the carving of the titular saint and an altarpiece from the s. XVI attributed to A. Sánchez Coello. Already in San Rafael, known as the "Spanish Switzerland" for its early tourist development in the early s. XX, we witnessed the bustle of cars and passersby, heirs of the old traffic of horse and mule vehicles that traveled along the Camino Real, the origin of the population being an inn that was built around a hermitage dedicated to San Rafael, which gave service to the carters that circulated from the Court to the Segovian grain supply areas. Over time, Fernando VI prepared this path to comfortably access the Royal Sites from Madrid, adorning with a stone lion at Alto de los Leones, the inscription that commemorates it.

We continue until Revenga to deviate by a secondary road until La Granja of San Ildefonso, and let us be surprised by the greatness of the complex built in the s. XVIII, made up of a palace, collegiate church, gardens, sculptures and fountains with water features, which Felipe V had created as a balm against his neurasthenia. Three centuries later, its power of suggestion remains intact. The monumental legacy extends through the population in the House of Trades, the House of Canons, House of the Infants, Barracks of the Corps Guard and the Royal Glass Factory. We approach the neighboring palace of Valsaín, which Felipe II ordered to be built on an old hunting ground of Enrique IV but its stones were reused for the Palace of La Granja and we can only enjoy the romantic silhouette of its ruins. To delve further into the royal buildings and their leisure activities you can walk the old path of the Royal Fisheries that runs along the river, from Valsain to the pontoon marsh. It is a path of 12 km, stone paved with granite slabs and enabled with bridges, which allowed Carlos III to enjoy the comfort of fishing and us a pleasant walk.


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