Plasencia Tourist Attractions
The old-world episcopal town of Plasencia, founded by Alfonso VIII in 1159 under the name of "Ut Deo placeat" ("May it please God"), lies on a hill encircled by the deep gorge of the Río Jerte, in the foothills of the Sierra de Gredos.
Plasencia's most notable building is the cathedral, which consists of two parts. The original Romanesque church was built in the 13th and 14th centuries, and a new part was begin in Gothic style in 1498 and continued in the 16th century in Plateresque style but never completed. Francisco de Colonia, Gil de Hontañón and other leading masters of the day worked on the new cathedral, the most notable features of which are the Plateresque north front with its graceful columns and the beautiful Puerta del Enlosado in the north transept, and, in the interior, the Capilla Mayor (by Juan de Álava, Diego de Siloé and Alonso de Covarrubias), the magnificent reja (1604), the choir-stalls (1520), carved with Biblical scenes and scenes from country life, and the retablo, with a relief of the Assumption of the Virgin (1629) by Gregorio Fernández.
A doorway leads into the older partof the cathedral, the parish church of Santa María, which has a Romanesque doorway, the Puerta del Perdón, and contains a 13th century polychrome statue of the Virgin. There is a small museum in the chapterhouse, the most valuable items in which are pictures by Ribera and Morales.
Cathedral - Cloister
From the cloister (14th-15th C.) a flight of steps by Gil de Hontañón leads to a terrace from which there is a good view of the dome of the sacristy.
Palacio de los Marqueses de Mirabel
On the corner opposite the cathedral stands the Palacio de los Marqueses de Mirabel, who from the 15th century bore the title of Condes de Plasencia. The palace is built round a courtyard and garden, in which are some archeological remains. The finest room in the palace itself is the Salón de Carlos V, which contains a bust of the Emperor Charles V by Pompeo Leoni.
Between the cathedral square, the Plaza de San Nicolás and the Plaza Mayor extends the most interesting part of the old town, with beautiful churches, noble mansions and whitewashed houses with gallery-like projections on the façades.
Plasencia is surrounded by a double circuit of walls, with 68 towers, dating from the time of its foundation. There are fine views from the wall-walk, particularly on the northeast side.
Monasterio de Yuste
46km/29mi northeast of Plasencia on C 501 is the Hieronymite monastery of San Jerónimo de Yuste, founded in 1404, devastated by the French in 1809 and later partly restored. It is famed particularly as the last retreat of the Emperor Charles V, who abdicated in favor of his son Philip II in 1556, withdrew to Yuste and died there in 1558. The apartments occupied by the Emperor are shown to visitors, including his dining room, his study and his bedroom (the room in which he died), directly adjoining the church. On the high altar of the church (1508) is a copy of a painting by Titian depicting Charles and his wife Isabella of Portugal with Philip II and Maria of Hungary. Adjoining the church is a Plateresque cloister. From the covered terrace there is a fine view of the fertile surrounding countryside, extending to the Sierra de Guadalupe.
Jarandilla de la Vera
The little town of Jarandilla de la Vera, a few kilometers east of the Monasterio de Yuste, has a 15th century castle of the Counts of Oropesa, now a parador.