Today we visited Ronda en route to Seville. The drive was beautiful as we motored through mountain passes covered with oak and pines as well as olive and citrus orchards.
Ronda, with a current population of about 36,700, is one of the oldest cities in Spain. Around the city are remains of prehistoric settlements dating to the Neolithic Age, including the rock paintings of Cueva de la Pileta. In the sixth century BC, Ronda was settled by the early Celts; and like many other cities in Spain, the Romans then the Moors settled here.
Our first stop was La Casa del Jamón. All over Spain you can see hams hanging by their hooves is store windows. It is important to leave the hooves because that is what indicates the quality of the ham. These black hooved hams are very special because of their diet of acorns and sell for over $25 a pound.
Our local guide, Andreas, gave us samples of the paper thin slices of ham artfully carved by the butcher.
Ronda is famous as the birthplace of modern bullfighting, The Plaza de Toros is the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain that is still used. The bullfight, Corrida Goyesca, only happens once a year; and only the best of the best enter the ring.
This Mecca for bullfighters and bandoleros was the residence of both Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway for many years. Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls describes the murder of loyalists early in the Spanish Civil War by being thrown from these cliffs of El Tajo by Franco’s forces. The river gorge is 360 ft. deep.
Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), an amazing architectural feat built between 1755 and 1793, spans this gorge and connects the old city with the new city.
The vistas from Casa don Bosco in the old city of the area below Ronda were magnificent. Photos just can’t do it justice.
After our tour, we had lunch on our own and did a bit of shopping. We left Ronda a little after 3:00 and arrived in Seville about 5:00 PM. Before going to our hotel, we visited Plaza de España, built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is a landmark example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture. We were blessed with another beautiful day of sunshine.
Once at our hotel, we freshened up a bit, unpacked the necessities and enjoyed a lovely dinner at the hotel with our fellow travelers. Tomorrow we explore other parts of Seville.