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Ribera del Duero
Ribera del Duero

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Weather in Ribera

20 may 2024

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Following the footsteps of Isabella the Catholic

Did you know that Isabel I of Castilla stayed in Aranda de Duero on several occasions before being proclaimed queen?

She lived in the capital of the Ribera region for three years with her sister-in-law Juana de Avís, wife of Enrique IV. But where did she live? In the Casa de las Bolas, an emblematic building located just in front of the Church of San Juan Bautista.

We follow in her footsteps through our region, visiting the towns along the Duero River that are closely associated with this historical figure:

  • Aranda de Duero
  • Gumiel de Mercado and the Royal Site of La Ventosilla
  • Roa de Duero and Cardinal Cisneros
  • Tórtoles de Esgueva and Juana "La Loca"

Isabel was queen of Castile (from 1474 to 1504) and of Aragon (from 1479) after her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon, despite being second cousins. She lived for 53 years.

On October 4, 1473, Isabel took solemn possession of the town of Aranda. The people of Aranda in the area of Allendeduero swore allegiance to Isabel and she stayed here for a while. Between November and December 5, the Council of Aranda took place, which Princess Isabel attended, and she may have stayed in Aranda for a few more days, as there is evidence that she and Ferdinand celebrated Christmas Day 1473 in Aranda.

Our itinerary takes us to the Real Sitio de la Ventosilla, to the south of Gumiel de Mercado, known since the 12th century as a magnificent hunting estate. It was purchased by Queen Isabel the Catholic in 1503 from the count of Ribadeo for over two million maravedis. When the queen died, the property passed through the hands of Philip the Handsome, Ferdinand the Catholic, and Emperor Charles V. Later, the Sandoval family acquired it in 1521 and the Duke of Lerma transformed it into a recreational site to host Philip III. Currently, the small palace designed by Francisco de Mora in 1602 is preserved, magnificent in its construction with its ample proportions and Herrerian style, converted into a Posada Real. Next to the palace, there is also a Parish Church, built in the 16th century, which houses a magnificent Gothic altarpiece in Hispano-Flemish style from the 16th century. The estate, covering almost 3,000 hectares, belongs to PradoRey Winery.

The history of Roa is closely linked to that of Cardinal Cisneros, one of the most influential figures in the life of Isabel the Catholic, being her confessor and advisor. Precisely, he took his first steps in the ecclesiastical career in Roa, under the tutelage of an uncle, a clergyman in the town. He died here on November 8, 1517. In Paseo del Espolón, there is a monument erected by the people of Roa in his honor.

We conclude our journey in Tórtoles de Esgueva, going back in time to the year 1506, with Juana, one of the six legitimate children of Isabel and Ferdinand, as the protagonist. After the unexpected death of Philip "the Handsome" in Burgos at the age of 28, his wife Juana "The Mad" decided to make a journey to Granada so that he could be buried there. Eleven months later, the funeral cortege entered the streets of the riverside municipality of Tórtoles de Esgueva in the middle of the night, which became the scene of the meeting between Juana and her father, Ferdinand "the Catholic". It is likely the place where Isabel the Catholic's husband made the decision to incapacitate his daughter, upon learning of the journey she had undertaken with her deceased husband's body.