Route of the Heretic in Valladolid
Valladolid Town Hall
College of San Gregorio National Museum. Valladolid
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In Miguel Delibes' footsteps
A unique route that covers the places in the city of Valladolid mentioned in "The Heretic", the famous novel by the writer Miguel Delibes. The novel is set in the second third of the 16th century, when the town was the capital of the Kingdom of Spain. Delibes was inspired by two historical events: the two autos-da-fé in 1559, by which the Inquisition sent 27 people to be burnt at the stake.
We can walk around Valladolid old town comfortably. We'll start at the Plaza de San Pablo, which Delibes sets as the protagonist's home, Doctor Cipriano Salcedo. There we'll find the Church of San Pablo (15th-17th century), with its splendid façade-altarpiece (1497), one of the most important Spanish-Flemish Gothic works, by Simón de Colonia.
Nearby we find the National Sculpture Museum, situated in the old College of San Gregorio, also with a spectacular Spanish-Flemish Gothic façade; and the Palace of the Pimentel family, with its Plateresque façade.
A few steps away we get to the Plaza de Santa Brígida, where we'll find the convent of the same name and the old Palace of Licenciado Butrón, who was a solicitor at the Royal Courts and Chancery of Valladolid. In the next square we'll find the palaces of Fabio Nelli and of the Marquis of Valverde, which houses the Valladolid Museum, next to the corner on San Ignacio and Expósitos streets.
If we take the latter, we'll get to the Plaza de la Trinidad, where Delibes' imagination set the Salcedo family's wool warehouse. There we can find the Palace of the Counts of Benavente, built in the early 16th century, and currently the Valladolid Public Library; and the Church of La Trinidad. A few metres away, we find the Convent of Santa Catalina, with its Plateresque courtyard, and its church in which the mortal remains of the sculptor Juan de Juni lie.
After passing by the Church of San Agustín, we get to an interesting stop: the church in the Convent of San Benito el Real, a 16th century Gothic-Renaissance building. Some outstanding features are the doorway and the tower, by Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, and the main cloister, with the Chapel of the Counts of Fuensaldaña, housing the Patio Herreriano Museum of Contemporary Art.
Then we'll get to Plaza de Fuente Dorada, where Delibes set several scenes in his novel, such as Garabito Tavern. Then we'll head towards the Plaza Mayor, which Philip II commissioned after the fire that burnt it down in 1561. The autos-da-fé narrated in "The Heretic" took place there.
From this square there is a street that leads to the Church of Santiago: it preserves its 15th century Gothic sanctuary and houses altarpieces by Juan de Ávila and Alonso de Berruguete. That same street takes us to the end of the route, Plaza de Zorrilla, dominated by the statue of the Romantic writer José Zorrilla.
To one side of the square there used to be a gate, Puerta del Campo, and the old La Resurrección Hospital. The victims of the Spanish Inquisition were burnt at the stake there. Nowadays there is a Neoclassical building with flats, Casa Mantilla, designed by the architect Julio Saracíbar in 1891.
We have the option of going on a dramatised and guided tour of the route in May, during the celebration of the Renaissance Week. If you are travelling during the first half of September, don't miss the Nuestra Señora de San Lorenzo festivities, the most popular ones in Valladolid.