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Country House Los Laureles.
C/ de la Horcajada, 20
C.P. 05500 Piedrahita - Avila
Tlf: +34 653094024 | +34 920362892
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The Gardens of the Palace
The gardens of the Palace of the Dukes of Alba is the most striking of the village of Piedrahita countryside. They are defined by the stream of Las Peñuelas in its west side while on the east and south sides they are contained by a masonry wall topped by stone blocks known as La Muralla. The date of construction of these gardens dates from the mid-eighteenth century, specifically between 1755 and 1766, coinciding with the works of the palace itself directed by Jaime Marquet.
Over time, these gardens have undergone various interventions, destructions and renovations, we can still find remnants of the original building that we will describe below. The entire existing gardens can be divided into two terraces: top and bottom. In the first one we find the ark or house of water; It is a cistern built in granite masonry in rectangular form and with domed brick inside which the deposit which was the entry of water from the mountains to all the gardens was situated, it was done by a channel in form of U. From this building the water was distributed by various manholes and pipes are into different ponds and irrigation systems. Another element of this time that can be found on the upper terrace of the park is the Bridge of the Lilies which unites the gardens to the countryside. However, although we find these remains, this area of the park has undergone several actions, among the most prominent ones, the building of the institute and the football field under which it would originally be located a pond.
On the lower terrace three ponds were constructed: one in the center currently operating and two at the sides; the western one is now part of playground and the eastern one is registered in the municipal pools. In origin, they would form a distinct and symmetrical whole. In this area of the park would be where all lines of the original irrigation system would be distributed which would be built with granite, ceramic and lead. As a differentiator between the two terraces, there is a retaining wall facing the Palace-traced Chamber popularly known as The Figurehead , because the pipe from which exits the water to the fountain is shaped as a mask. It would be in the lower terrace when in the eighteenth century, time of the the apogee of the Palace, major characters of the nobility and culture of the time, including Francisco de Goya , who painted from this terrace his famous picture La Vendimia, which represents the Cerro de la Cruz town at the time of vineyards, used to walk. As major changes of this lower terrace we include its use as a horticultural crop area at the time after of the Spanish Civil War and the building of the schools and of the municipal pools.
Under all this assembly described above we may find a series of underground tunnels used as a drainage system for rainwater and for the peripheral undergroundtraffic of the palace with which communicated and linked to outside of the park through two outputs: one to the river through the wall and other near the old stables. In the hundred meters that have these galleries there are numerous chimneys or upstream access that contact the surface allowing ventilation.
Regarding these underground galleries there are many local traditions concerning them. Thus it is said that they reach the Hermitage of La Vega, three kilometers away, another to the castle of El Miron, a nearby town, another to the cemetery located in the Dominican Convent and other one to the Cerro de la Cruz but for the moment they have not been found.
DEL VALLE, Manuel, "El Palacio y Jardines del Duque de Alba" en "Programa de Ferias y Fiestas de Piedrahíta de 1992"
FORNES, A., "Subterráneos del Palacio de los Duques de Alba", 2000. pp 25-29
LARRÉN IZQUIERDO, Hortensia; MARTÍNEZ-NOVILLO, Andrés, "Los Jardines del Palacio de los Duques de Alba en Piedrahíta (Ávila). Estudio arqueológico" en "El Bosque de Béjar y las Villas de Recreo en el Renacimiento" (Actas de las Jornadas, Béjar 16 y 17 de Septiembre de 1993), 1993 pp 79-95