Fuentidueña is a charming village with a rich history located in the province of Segovia, Spain. Its history dates back to ancient times, with the presence of diverse peoples and cultures in its territory, from the Vaceans and Celts to Romans, Visigoths, Jews and Arabs.
One of the highlights of its history was during the reign of Alfonso VIII, who chose Fuentidueña as his residence after his victory at the Battle of Navas de Tolosa in 1212. During his reign, the town prospered and a significant repopulation policy was carried out. In addition to Alfonso VIII, other kings, such as Alfonso X and Sancho IV, visited the town at different times in history.
In the 15th century, the Luna family became the owners of the town of Fuentidueña, and in 1446, D. Pedro de Luna Manuel, son of D. Álvaro de Luna, took over the town. In the 17th century, Fuentidueña went from being a lordship to a county, and D. Antonio de Luna Enríquez was proclaimed the first Count of Fuentidueña. Later, this title was merged with the County of Montijo.
Among the illustrious figures associated with Fuentidueña is D. Eugenio Portocarrero Palafox, who took part in the War of Independence against Napoleon. His daughter, Dª Mª Francisca, inherited the county and married D. Jacobo Luis Fitz-James Stuart, taking the title of the County of Fuentidueña to the House of Alba.
Currently, the title of Count of Fuentidueña is held by Ms. Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, the Duchess of Alba, being the tenth Countess of Fuentidueña.
The historical architecture of Fuentidueña includes notable elements such as the Castle, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, which is believed to have been built between the 12th and 13th centuries. It was a place of importance during the reigns of Alfonso VIII and Alfonso X, and in the 14th century, it went from being a lordship to a county.
The walled enclosure of Fuentidueña, built between the 12th and 13th centuries, protected the town on its north, south and west sides. Three gates allowed access to the interior, including the Puerta de Palacio, which was the main entrance.
The Church of San Martín is an example of 12th century Romanesque architecture, with notable elements such as a portico with arches and capitals decorated with plant motifs.
The Casa de la Comunidad de Villa y Tierra de Fuentidueña is a stately building located in the Plaza de la Villa, which formerly served as the prison of the town of Fuentidueña. Today, it serves as a meeting place for representatives of the 21 towns that make up the Community of Villa y Tierra.
The Franciscan Convent of San Juan de la Penitencia, which dates back to the 11th century, has had various occupations over the years and housed burials of the local nobility.
The Palace, built in the 15th century, was the residence of D. Pedro de Luna Manuel and his family. Subsequently, it underwent Renaissance-style alterations.
The Pilar Chapel, also known as the Chapel of the Counts of Montijo, is a neoclassical building erected in the 18th century. It houses a Baroque altarpiece and has a façade with a coat of arms of the Montijo and Fuentidueña lineages.
The Stone Bridge, although of medieval origin, was extensively renovated in the 18th century and consists of six semicircular arches with cutwaters and spurs.
The Church of Santa María del Arrabal, originally a Romanesque church, underwent modifications in the 16th century. The priest Hernán Núñez promoted these works, which were completed in 1576. The church has a nave and a chapel built in the 17th century, together with a Baroque altarpiece that houses the image of the Immaculate Conception.
Fuentidueña is also known for its wine cellars, which are dug into the rock. These cellars, which date mainly from the 19th century, are used for fermenting and storing wine, as well as for meetings and picnics.
The necropolis of San Martín is a burial site dating from the 10th to the 17th century. The deceased were buried in pits dug in the ground, with their heads facing east, following a specific burial ritual.
Finally, the Hospital de la Magdalena, built in the 16th century by order of Dña Mencía de Mendoza, offered shelter and care to the poor of the town and its surroundings. It continued to function until 1853, when it was seized by the State and was subsequently converted into housing for several families.
In short, Fuentidueña is a historical treasure in the province of Segovia, with a rich history dating back centuries. Its architecture, monuments and historic sites reflect its past and its importance in the region. The village has maintained its heritage and traditions over the years, making it a place of cultural and tourist interest.