Starting from Frómista, we can visit the Romanesque architecture of Palencia and some of the main Romanesque churches on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela. This route, also known as the Cluniac Route, highlights the connection between Frómista and the French art current, through Cluny. It proposes a visit to Carrión de los Condes, Villalcazar de Sirga and then on to Saldaña to discover the history of the Roman Villa of La Olmeda.
Leaving Frómista, 13 kilometres away, we reach the town of Villalcazar de Sirga, with its imposing Church of Santa María la Blanca. It is a fortress-like temple begun at the end of the 12th century, in the transition from Romanesque to Gothic, and finished in the 14th century, linked to the Order of the Temple.
We cover the distance between Villalcazar de Sirga and Carrión, 6 kilometres, and start our visit in the next town.
If the weather in Carrión allows it, before starting the visit it is recommended to take a walk through its streets and feel the atmosphere of the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
Afterwards, visit the first Romanesque church on the route, the 12th century Church of Santa María del Camino, and continue with a visit to the Church of Santiago, built in the 12th century, with a remarkable façade. With an archivolt depicting various trades and guilds, the upper frieze shows a representation of the Last Judgement, with a pantocrator, the four evangelists in anthropomorphic form and the twelve apostles. Today it houses the Museum of Sacred Art.
It is essential to visit the Royal Monastery of San Zoilo on the Way of St. James from Carrión de Los Condes to the next stage. An Asset of Cultural Interest, founded in the 11th century. It is currently the headquarters of the Cluny Ibérica association, whose aim is to bring together the many efforts to bring to light the Cluniac heritage, both tangible and intangible, in Spain and Portugal.
In the Monastery of San Zoilo, a window and a chequered impost, the western doorway, the burial place of the Countess Teresa Peláez, the sarcophagi of the counts, discovered in 1947, with interesting sculptures, and two Islamic canvases from the 11th century, declared B.I.C. with the category of Movable Property in 2012, are preserved.
The most outstanding feature of the monastery complex is the two-storey Renaissance cloister. Today the monastery is the Hotel San Zoilo.
You can take a walk along the banks of the river Carrión.
Following the course of the River Carrión, through the region of Vega-Valdavia and about 17 km. from Carrión de los Condes, we find the municipality of Pedrosa de la Vega where the VRO Villa Romana de la Olmeda museum is located, which houses the most important Roman remains in the whole province of Palencia.
You can consult the opening times, prices and history on the official website of the Villa Romana de la Olmeda.
This villa was discovered in 1968 and since its discovery it is still being excavated, as it is not known in its entirety. In addition to the villa, the excavation campaign has been extended to two necropolis. The site contains valuable mosaics that cover the floors of various rooms, depicting geometric, vegetal and figurative motifs in interesting chromatic combinations.
Once visited, and after marvelling at the marvellous conservation of some of the mosaics in the Roman Villa of La Olmeda, we continue another 3 km. further north to reach Saldaña.
The entrance ticket to the Villa includes the possibility of visiting the Museum of the Roman Villa of La Olmeda, located in the Church of San Pedro de Saldaña. It exhibits a selection of objects found in the excavations of the villa, as a complement to the visit, ranging from fragments of mosaic, through other personal adornment, work instruments, as well as samples of the important collection of coins. The exhibition includes remains of the rich grave goods with which they were buried, including an excellent collection of glass objects.
Afterwards, we recommend strolling through Saldaña, seeing its emblazoned and half-timbered houses, among which the Casa del Marqués de la Valdavia stands out, strolling through its Plaza Vieja with its arcades of great Castilian flavour and enjoying a typical dish of this land.