Oviedo is a city made for strolling. It is quiet and pedestrianized, and the old town runs through its noble streets, full of squares and elegant mansions. Here we suggest the following route:
We will start the tour at this fountain, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is the only surviving example of secular architecture in the Asturian pre-Romanesque style, and dates from the 9th century. The Cross of Victory, the emblem of Asturias, is sculpted onto the façade of this late mediaeval building.
Casa de Campomanes
Now, we go down Calle Gascona street to find this example of the Baroque, finished in 1622, with its remarkable, balconied façade and family coat-of arms.
This is in the center of Oviedo and stands on the earlier Basilica del Salvador, built by Alfonso II next to his royal palace. It is the second most important center for pilgrims in Spain, the wayfarers prostrated themselves before the 13th-century Romanesque statue of the Savior and went to the Camara Santa chapel in the Cathedral, where the precious metalwork of the kings of Asturias was kept and important relics brought from Toledo, among which was the Holy Shroud. Other treasures found in the Camara Santa chapel, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are the Victory Cross and Cross of the Angels, the coat of arms of Oviedo.
Valdecarzana Palace and San Tirso Church
Valdecarzana Palace is on the outskirts, identified by the huge coat of arms of the Heredia family. Another important site of spirituality is the Romanesque San Tirso Church. There is not much left of the original building except a window in the sanctuary.
La Rúa Palace
Very close by is this 15th-century palace, the oldest secular building in Oviedo, which survived a serious fire in 1521. Right opposite is a statue of La Regenta, a tribute to a heroine in literature whose adventures in 19th-century Oviedo fired the imagination of the writer, Clarín.
Palace of the Marques de Camposagrado and Toreno Palace
Adjoining it is Plaza del Porlier Square, with two luxurious houses: the palace of the Marquess de Camposagrado, an 18th-century mansion, now used by the High Court, and Toreno Palace, which houses the royal Institute of Asturian Studies.
The University precinct has seen four centuries of history and is now the head office of the Rector. Designed by the architects Gil de Hontañón and Juan de Ribera, it was inaugurated in 1608, and a statue of the founder, Fernando de Valdés, the Grand Inquisitor, stands in the cloisters.
The Museum of Fine Arts
The museum occupies three buildings at the foot of the cathedral, two of which are the Velarde Palace and the house of the Oviedo-Portal family. The collection houses fine example of Spanish and European paintings from the Middle Ages to the present, and the section for Asturian painters is particularly worth viewing.
The Palacio Arzobispal archbishop's palace, and Deanery.
By going around the Corrala del Obispo, a square overlooked by the 16th-century archbishop’s palace, you come to the dean’s residence, built in 1900 and now housing the MusicConservatory.
San Vicente Monastery
Now we go to San Vicente Monastery, founded in 761 by the monks, Máximo and Fromistano. In 1952, the cloisters were altered to house the Provincial Archaeological Museum, which displays valuable items of pre-Romanesque Asturian art.
San Pelayo Monastery and mediaeval walls
San Pelayo Monastery was started in the shadow of San Vicente Monastery. The current building has been renovated over the centuries and is now home to a community of Benedictine nuns. Next to it, in Calle Paraíso Street, you can see the remains of the mediaeval wall.
Town Hall and San Isidoro Church
We continue towards Plaza de la Constitución Square, a meeting place where stands the Town Hall, started in 1622, and the Baroque San Isidoro Church, founded by the Jesuits at the end of the 16th century.
Now we come to El Fontán, one of the most typical places in the old town, consisting of the porticoed square, Zapateros arch and the Casa de las Comedias, now a library. The highly colourful Fontán market has not strayed from popular tradition. There is also a famous statue dedicated to the women vendors.
Regional Assembly, Plaza de la Escandalera Square and Campoamor Theatre
On the way, you can see the Regional Assembly, seat of the General Council of the Principality, before reaching Plaza de la Escandalera Square, the center of social life in Oviedo. The Campoamor Theatre, built at the end of the 19th century, opens its doors opposite, providing a wide variety of plays and music.
Campo de San Francisco gardens
Campo de San Francisco provides a green, open space stretching over the former gardens of the convent of the same name. Its walkways and fountains are the ideal place for a stroll.
Calle Uría Street and Reconquista Hotel
Next, you enter Calle Uría Street, the commercial center of Oviedo, and finish the tour at another well-known local building: the Reconquista hotel, built on the site of the 18th-century Provincial Hospital. The Baroque façade is crowned by a majestic coat of arms of Spain andis a symbol of the city’s prosperity.
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