Duration: Full-day tour
Itinerary: Lugo - Castro de Viladonga
Description: With more than 2,000 years of history, Lugo enjoyed the status of district capital during Roman times. Its walls date from the year 14 B.C. and are a World Heritage Site. With a perimeter of more than 2 km, which can be toured entirely on foot, they alone make the city worth visiting. Behind the walls lie narrow streets with a traditional atmosphere and historical squares featuring monuments of interest, among which the Cathedral stands out. Near Lugo is the Viladonga “castro”, which is one of the most complete fortified settlements that can be visited. There is also an educational museum that explains the lifestyle of Galicia’s inhabitants when the Romans arrived. Lugo’s gastronomy provides another reason for making this trip.
A Roman city as it would be imagined, the look of Lugo has always been inextricably linked both to its walls and its long famous and excellent gastronomic offer, based on the products of its permanently green fields.
With more than 2.000 years of history behind it, Lugo was the only town in Galicia to bear the title of capital of a judicial district already in Roman times. Founded by Paulus Fabius Maximus in the year 14 b.C., its walls were built then and have been declared Patrimony of Mankind, with a perimeter of more than 2.600 meters and many semicircular towers. In spite of some rebuilding, this is the best preserved Roman walled town in the entire Iberian peninsula, and it still keeps its original guiding main streets, the cardus and decumanus.
On the banks of the river Miño, and also crossed by a bridge that is originally Roman, two halls of the contemporary termae still stand. Within the walls, the most significant streets and squares, as well as the main monuments, all preceded by the cathedral, proud to hold the privilege of permanently exhibiting the Santísimo, for which reason Lugo is known as the ‘city of the Sacrament’.
The cathedral began to be built towards 1129, different masters were in charge of its construction, and its naves were not finished until the thirteenth century. The northern door is particularly relevant for its magnificent pantocrator and pinjante, the latter depicting Christ’s last supper. Both pieces are the best of Lugo’s Romanesque sculptures.
The convent of San Francisco, still preserving its sober medieval cloister, has become the Museo Provincial, and as such houses important collections of pre-Roman jewelry and Galician painting.The adjacent temple and that of Santo Domingo are among the main examples of the Gothic mendicant style.
The Ayuntamiento or town hall, as well as the old houses, the emblazoned casonas and the other churches all look upon the artistic heritage of this city of quiet and narrow streets in which time seems to have ceased.
Castro de Viladonga
The Castro de Viladonga, important especially between the second and fifth centuries a.D., is one of the most impressive of its kind that it is possible to visit. It follows the typical patterns of this form of settlement characteristic of Galicia from the Iron Age until well into Roman times. Several walls and ditches shelter an ample acropolis or central crown, in which there is housing, corrals, warehouses and public buildings.
Viladonga offers also a museum, exemplary for the magnitude of its didactic effort, a great aid for the task of understanding the life of Galicia’s Castreño forbears of two millenniums back and containing a most interesting scale model.