Estremadura in Spagna

Extremadura in Spain, what to see on a trip from Merida to Caceres

explore theExtremadura in Spain it is like taking a trip to the heart of the country, passing from surprise to surprise, from the most beautiful Roman ruins up to medieval cities, arriving at landscapes full of charm and villages such as Mérida, Cáceres and Trujilloconsidered among the most beautiful historical settlements in the Spain. The villages of this region have a timeless charm made even more special by the surrounding context which changes from the remote hills of the north to the peaks of theAndalusia in the south.

The oddity is that still few foreign travellers they have so far. The Spaniards, on the other hand, know theExtremadura as the place to sample some of the nation’s best produce: aged cheeses and the famous Casar de Caceres, a sheep’s cheese that is hard on the outside and dripping on the inside, almost as if it were liquid. They call it cake: but it’s a real pleasure. Not only that: among the things not to be missed in Extremadura in Spain there is olive oilthe meats to grill and especially the Iberian ham called Dehesa of Extremadura. It’s not good – it’s great.

Yet this region of big blue skies and of vast fields of sparsely populated land with isolated farmhouses and castles perched on the hillside is yet to be discovered. And in its more remote areas, as in the Monfragüe National Park chances are you won’t find tourists. And this makes a trip to the land of even more priceless Extremadura in Spain.

Extremadura in Spain: poor and beautiful

But let’s understand each other better: located in south-western Spain, theExtremadura it is bordered to the north and east by the Castile and Leon – the region of Avila, Burgos, Salamanca And Segovia – to the south with the beaches of Andalusia and to the west with the Portugal.

In Roman times, Extremadura covered an important role among the provinces of the Iberian peninsula as it was crossed by what is called the Via de la Platai.e. the most important commercial thoroughfare for the tin and copper trade it passed through Roman Iberia from North to south. The same road still exists and represents an excursion route that crosses the region while, for the ordinary road system, theExtremadura it is crossed by the main road that leads between Madrid And Lisbon.

With a population density of less than 30 inhabitants per sq km, Extremadura is one of the zones less populated than Spainwith large deserted spaces and almost desolate countryside which explains why it is also the region poorer in Spainin terms of GDP per capita. A limit? Of course: but also one of the main reasons for the richness of its historical heritage and the conservation of the natural environment.

Extremadura in Spain

Discovering ancient Lusitania

Merida, ancient capital of the Roman province of Lusitaniais today the capital of Extremadura in Spain and, not to be forgotten, one of the world heritage sites ofUNESCO. Located in the south of the region, Merida was built at the point where the aforementioned Ruta de la Plata crosses the Guadiana river: and still today its Roman bridge over the Guadiana river it is the longest standing Roman bridge in the world.

Merida is the most fascinating archaeological site in Spain as regards the Roman remains and, in addition to the Roman bridge, has a magnificent ancient theatre, an amphitheatre, a stadium and the remains of three Roman aqueducts. In addition to Merida, the region of Extremadura has numerous other incredibly preserved Roman remains such as the bridge over the Tagus of Alcantaraa second Roman bridge over the Tagus and a perfectly preserved part of the original ancient walls in the small town of Coria.

Extremadura in Spain

Extremadura in Spain: discovering Cáceres

In the past, Cáceres was the place of residence for many rich families which, as often happens, competed to build magnificent palaces within the walls of the ancient fortifications which date back to the times of Arab domination. Then time passed but the appearance of Cáceres has actually changed little: and for this reason it is still called “monumental city“.

Now the city is World Heritage Site but it remains an almost traffic-free maze of small streets, with squares bordered by magnificent houses with family crests carved in stone above the doors. Some of these are now small free museums, including the Mercedes Calles-Carlos Ballestero Foundationwhich organizes very interesting exhibitions every summer.

Another transformed mansion was built on a Aljibepossibly the most splendid Moorish water cistern to survive in Spain. The museum contains a fine collection of medieval, Roman and prehistoric artifacts and an art gallery featuring works by picasso, I look And El Greco.

But the best way to enjoy the beauty of Caceres it is wandering the streets and squares, peeking where possible into the courtyards or if you prefer climbing the tower of the cathedral to admire the panoramic view. A unique view of Extremadura in Spain.

Extremadura in Spain

Extremadura in Spain: the cathedrals of Plasencia

Fifty kilometres north of Caceres is located Plasencia, another historic city gathered in the embrace of the historic walls. However it is very different from Caceres as even the old part has developed in a modern way and its narrow streets are now lined with shops and restaurants.

The city boasts a magnificent Plaza Mayor, and, in this it is similar to Caceres, some important old mansions. It also has – true oddity – two cathedrals joined together – the result of an incomplete reconstruction project of the late Renaissance. Although under the same roof, the two cathedral halves are separate and are a unique and striking blend of architectural styles. Not far away, the Parador of the city, housed in an ancient monastery, is worth a visit.

No visit to Extremadura in Spain is complete without a visit to Trujilloa small town in the part east of the region. The old city, perched on a rocky hill that rises above the plains of the region, is famous for being the birthplace of Francisco Pizzarothe ruthless Conquistador who invaded and colonized Peru and several other areas of the South America on behalf of the Spanish throne.

The riches of the conquistadors

Pizarro with his ravages became fabulously rich and his family palace, right on the main square of Trujillo proves it. But the square, beyond the palace, with its arcades and elegant houses, is nonetheless one of the most attractive in the whole Spain. On the top of the hill where the city of Trujillo is located, one can see one that has been remodeled several times but whose original Moorish parts date back to the 9th century. From the ramparts there is an extraordinary view over the plains to the hills in the distance.

Extremadura in Spain

The plains north of Trujillo they are an almost deserted area, divided into vast land parcels where i Iberian pigs – yes those from which it was born jamon – and the bulls graze in semi-freedom under the evergreen oaks. arriving at the national park of Monfraguealso known as park dell‘Extremadura and now a biosphere reserve. The area, which includes a rocky and hilly area along part of the valley of the Tagus it is also rich in wildlife and is very popular with ornithologists who come to see – among other rare birds – griffon vultures, vultures and imperial eagles.

Columbus Monastery

A visit to Extremadura in Spain usually also includes stops at two famous monasteries: the first is located about 50 km east of Trujillo and is the royal monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe, dating back to the period between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is a place with a long history: Christopher Columbus came to this isolated place in the hills to thank God after discovering the New World. And it is no coincidence that the Virgin of Guadalupe is still highly venerated today Latin America.

Less impressive but still worth seeing is the Yuste monasteryon the southern slopes of the Sierra de Gredos. Here too peace is guaranteed and the proof still comes from history: here Charles V of Habsburg – a contemporary of Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France – came to retire to spend the last years of his life in meditation. Not far from Yuste, in the direction of Plasenciais found there Jerte Valley: come in spring because this is the Spanish capital of cherries and indeed the hills are covered with millions of plants.

Extremadura in Spain: how to get there

To reach this region from Italy the easiest way is to take the plane to Madrid and from there rent a car to move around at will. After all, Merida is only a couple of hours away Iberian capital. From Merida then it will be possible to visit and explore the rest of this land yet to be discovered.

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