The burgeoning city of Valladolid (pop 319,946) preserves some of the best examples of Renaissance art. The Belad Valed mentioned in documents of the Reconquest, Valladolid boasts a major monumental legacy scattered among the arteries of what is now the capital of the Region. A good place to start a tour is the exceptional National Museum of Sculpture, which is housed in the College of San Gregorio, an outstanding example of Flemish Gothic.
On exhibit there are polychrome wood carvings from the hands of such legendary figures of the region as Alonso Berruguete or Gregorio Fernandez. Close by stands the Convent of San Pablo with its lovely facade. Next to it is the Palace of the Pimentel , now home to the provincial Deputation. Also in this area, Zorilla´s House/Museum preserves the memory of this romantic writer and scion of Valladolid.
On the way to the heart of the city is the Palace of Fabio Nelly, a building of Classical lines which houses the Museum of Valladolid and its collections of tools, coins, paintings and ceramics. And in the street of the same name in the Monastery of San Benito el Real, built on the site where the fortress of King Juan I once stood, its church has an austere doorway completed by Gil de Hontañon in 1569.
After visiting the rectangular Plaza Mayor, the route leads on to the Cathedral. Commenced by Juan de Herrera in 1582 on the remains of a collegiate church, in the event the work was never completed. The Romanesque tower and a splendid Mannerist altarpiece by Juan de Juni still survive. The Diocesan Museum exhibit various religious objects, one of the finest being a processional monstrance wrought by Juan de Arfe in 1590.
Past some gardened ruins appears the Baroque facade of the University, decorated by the Tome brothers with a variety of academic symbols and allegories. In its vicinity rises the exceptional College of Santa Cruz, one of the first Spanish Renaissance buildings. The Baroque shelves of its library hold around 13,000 volumes printed between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Back near the cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria la Antigua boasts an unexpected Romanesque tower which quite dominates its surroundings. Very near there is the Church of Las Angustias, which contains a carving of La Virgin de los Cuchillos by master Juan de Juni. And here ends the tour of the principal monuments of Valladolid, although the city does of course have other places of interest – the Archbishop’s Palace, the Oriental Museum, the Casa de Cervantes and many more.