Palace, La Granja de San IldefonsoSeveral villages outside of Segovia feature churches, palaces and gardens of note. Numerous castles are also to be found beyond the boundaries of the city.
Santa Maria la Real de Nieva, Spain
C 605 runs northwest from Segovia to Santa María la Real de Nieva (28km/17mi), with a church which has a particularly beautiful cloister.
N 110 leads southwest from Segovia to the major junction with N VI, just beyond which is Villacastín (alt. 1,040m/3,412ft). This little town on the western slopes of the Sierra de Guadarrama has old mansions and a notable parish church (15th-17th C.) with two fine retablos and a number of tombs.
A minor road which branches off N 603 within the built-up area of Segovia runs southwest to the country mansion of Riofrío, built by Philip V's widow, who did not wish to return to La Granja. The house now contains a Hunting Museum.
La Granja de San Ildefonso, Spain
N 601, going southeast from Segovia into the Sierra de Guadarrama, comes in 11km/7mi to the little town of San Ildefonso (alt. 1,040m/ 3,412ft), a favorite resort of the people of Madrid, particularly at weekends. The town, beautifully situated at the foot of the massive peak of Peñalara, grew up around a monastic grange (granja) and hospice. In the early 18th century Philip V chose San Ildefonso, with its good air, as the site of a palace modeled on Louis XIV's Versailles which was built between 1721 and 1739.
San Ildefonso - Palace
Visitors approach the palace from its rear front, which is dominated by the imposing palace church. A conducted tour of the palace takes in the Throne Room and other apartments which have superb Flemish, French and Spanish tapestries. In the church is the red marble tomb of Philip V and his wife Isabella Farnese.
Address: Plaza de España 17, E-40100 La Granja de San Ildefonso, Spain
The beautiful gardens below the main front of the palace, reached by way of the magnificent Grand Cascade, were designed by the French landscape architects Etienne Boutelou and René Carlier. Framed in old trees, the gardens are filled with an extraordinary profusion and variety of fountains and sculpture, mostly the work of René Fremin and Jean Fermy. Round almost every corner visitors will encounter another lively allegorical group.
The whole complex of fountains makes an impressive display. They are turned on only at Easter and on May 30th, July 25th and August 25th.
Displayed in several rooms throughout the palace are tapestries of the Royal Collection as assembled primarily by Philip V.Notable works include "The Honors" and the "Apocalypse" series, by Pierre van Aelst.
Jardines de la Granja
The gardens are in baroque French-style with a spectacular mountain setting in the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama. The drop from the fountain is great enough to set off a series of fountain below. The right side of the garden's entrance is the La Fama parterre of clipped box and yew with lots of urns and sculptures. At the end of the parterre is the Banos de Diana which is the most expensive and huge baroque fountain with multi-layered cascade. At the bottom of the parterre is a bridge leading to the greenhouses and kitchen garden which are not open to public.
Leave Segovia on N 601, going northwest, and in 9.5km/6mi turn right into N 603, which runs northeast to (34km/21mi) Turégano (alt. 936m/3,071ft), a little episcopal town with an arcaded Plaza Mayor over which looms a partly ruined castle of the 13th-15th centuries with a massive keep. Within its battlemented walls is the Romanesque church of San Miguel, with a striking bell cote.
15km/9mi beyond Turégano on C 603 lies Cantalejo, 24km/15mi north of which is Fuentidueña, with the ruins of two Romanesque churches and a formidable castle.
From Cantalejo a minor road runs 15km/9mi northeast to the picturesque little town of Sepúlveda (alt. 1,032m/3,386ft), situated high above a loop on the Río Duratón. This was the Roman settlement of Septempublica, and it still has well preserved Roman walls as well as several Romanesque churches. Lower down is the commandingly situated 11th century church of El Salvador, with a galleried portico and a free-standing bell-tower, from which there is a breathtaking panoramic view. The Castillo was founded by Fernán González.
From Sepúlveda follow SG 233 southwest towards Pedraza. At the road junction known as the Cuatro Carreteras a road goes off on the left to Castilnovo (12th-15th C.), originally a Moorish stronghold.
Pedraza claims to be the birthplace of the Emperor Trajan. The little town is dominated by a massive castle on a high rocky crag. Around the attractive Plaza Mayor, a very typical Castilian square, are the Romanesque Torre San Juan and the Casa de la Inquisición, now an inn. 10km/6mi beyond Pedraza SG 233 joins N 110, which continues southwest by way of Collado Hermoso to Segovia.
Fiestas de Santa Agueda, Zamarramala, Spain
Every year the village of Zamarramala holds celebrations in honor of Santa Agueda.