Trujillo is steeped in history and is located in the heart of Extremadura, one of the remotest areas of Spain. The Plaza Mayor is unforgettable – an enormous square bordered with arches on two sides, a large fountain in the middle and dominated by the Church of Santa María la Mayor and an enormous equestrian statue of the explorer, Francisco Pizarro, a son of the town. Trujillo has a hilltop castle with wonderful views over the town and surrounding countryside, city walls, a wealth of monuments - churches, palaces and museums – and narrow, winding streets in the old quarter.
A number of bars and restaurants border the square, chairs and tables set out in front. There is nothing more pleasurable than sitting down at one of these on a warm evening to watch the people of the town go about their business. As the sun sets behind the far end of the square, the Church is bathed in an intense golden light. There is a pervading sense of timelessness and tradition about this place. For me it represents the essence of the real Spain that few people experience.
As you approach Trujillo by road, you will pass through an undulating landscape dotted with oak woods. And from time to time you will spot herds of black pigs. These are the pigs that produce the highly prized Jamón Ibérico de Bellota or Pata Negra. The pigs roam through the oak woods and feed on acorns (bellotas), herbs, grass and roots. This lends the special flavour and texture to the meat. The meat is cured and processed in Trujillo and you can buy paletas, jamón, chorizo and other products, as well as local cheeses and other regional products in the local shops. The restaurants also offer dishes based on these delicacies.
If you visit at the right time, you will catch one of the many festivals and fairs – the Chiviri and Semana Santa processions at Easter, the Cheese Fair in May, the Medieval Market and Fiesta of la Virgen de la Victoria in August, Extremadura Day in September and medieval and livestock fairs in each season.
Trujillo has a variety of hotels and hostals, including the Parador which is set in a 16th Convent. I would recommend the NH Palacio de Santa Marta which overlooks the Plaza Mayor. The former 16th century palace has been beautifully redesigned to incorporate and highlight the original features but at the same time it provides comfortable, stylish facilities.
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