Where to visit in Alfarnate...
Many varied and unique places to visit...
For such a small village, Alfarnate has many varied places of interest to visit. There’s the beautiful old town hall dating back some 400 years for a start. Then Almayate has not one, but two churches to have a look at; the Ermita de la Virgen de Monsalud with its interesting frontage is as old as the town hall, but the Santa Ana church with its imposing tower is the main one.
Another interesting visit is the curious Cerro Santo Cristo chapel, perched on a hill above Alfarnate, more of a shrine than a church. And talking of curiosities, the Museum of old tin toys is certainly quite unique for the Axarquia!
However, the place you’ll definitely want to visit is La Venta de Alfarnate Inn, which apart from serving some delicious food typical of the area, has a fascinating history going back some 500 years, including being a base for some famous 19th century bandits!
if you’ve visited any of these places, don’t forget you’re invited to leave a comment describing your experience, (note that a Facebook account is necessary).
The Ayuntamiento, or town hall, is one of the oldest buildings in Alfarnate, dating back to the 16th century.
The Mudéjar style building was a former grain warehouse built on two floors.
The lower floor has two parallel aisles to the facade and opens onto the street via exposed brick arcades resting on three Roman arches.
The upper floor house three Roman arches which match the lower floors.
Its address is: Plaza de la Constitución Nº1, Alfarnate.
Santa Ana church & Virgen de Monsalud hermitage
The most outstanding building in Alfarnate is the Iglesia de Santa Ana, the Santa Ana Church (photo left), built in 1736 and altered in the 19th century. It is on Calle Sacristìa, 9.
During the Spanish Civil War all the images in the church were burned and the church was used as the headquarters of the Republicans.
Also, it is said that one of its bells from the tower was taken to the Spanish city of Seville where it was put in the Giralda.
One of the best times to visit the church is during the September celebration when it is decorated with fabrics, tapestries and medieval lanterns.
The other main church in Alfarnate is Ermita de la Virgen de Monsalud (photo right), an even older building from the 16th century, that was also desecrated during the civil war.
Its frontage is particularly notable for its porticos, which sit on pilasters interconnected by semicircular arches. It is on Calle Ermita, 31.
Museum of old tin toys
The ‘Sterling Tin’ Alfarnate Association opened in 2011 to the general public with an Expo-Hall Antique Toy Museum, called ‘The Museo de Juguetes Antiguos’.
The exhibition is located on the premises of the Association. Viewings can be arranged through the contact information on their website – www.latadeley.es.
Opening hours and visits are everyday from 10.00 to 1.00 in the morning, and from 5.00 to 8.00 in the evening.
Situated in Calle Cruz, 13. Check at the local Tourist Office for more details.
Cerro Santo Cristo Chapel
An unusual building on the outskirts of the town, perched on a limestone hill, surrounded by rocks, pine trees and holm oaks.
The whitewashed stone rectangular building has a large barred window where there is an image of the crucified Christ on what looks more like a rustic altar than a chapel.
The area has some lovely views and there are some benches and tables nearby as well as some tracks into the countryside. At night, this spot is illuminated so that the chapel, as well as the limestone rock beneath it, can be clearly seen from the village.
The chapel still holds outdoor masses, and in particular the shrine which will be visited by believers on the first Friday of March.
La Venta de Alfarnate Inn
This famous country inn supposedly dates from the 13th century (though its deeds originate in the 17th century), and takes advantage of the numerous Andalucían and Spanish travellers passing through.
Situated between the inland and the sea it was the perfect spot for travellers to change their horses, and, as mentioned before, may have well have been the original reason for the village’s settlement.
Today Venta Alfarnate, which is situated 2 kilometres from Alfarnate village, is a restaurant and museum, which houses various tools used by bullfighters, popular arts and memorabilia of the bandits that stayed there. One of the typical dishes of the inn is ‘huevos a lo bestia’ – eggs which contain fried bread with fried eggs, loin with butter, blood sausage and olives.
However, it is its guests that make this inn most notable. It has provided lodgings for the highest to the lowest in the land, from King Alfonso XIII who stayed there in 1884 when visiting the damage caused by an earthquake to the region, to various notorious bandits.
In the 19th century those staying at Venta Alfarnate would have told tales of the famous misdeeds of the many bandits who roamed the hills of Andalucía. Bandits such as the famous El Rojo, El Bizco del Borge and El Tempranillo. The bandit horseman El Rojo was arrested at the Venta Alfarnate. He was a friend of El Tragabuches, the bullfighter-bandit from Ronda in Andalucía. Legend says that in the loneliness of the cell whilst he was waiting to go to prison, El Rojo sang this fandango…
“A woman led to my first downfall, all man’s downfall is caused by a woman.”
Another bandit called El Bizco del Borge also had a romantic connection to the inn, as it was where he went to meet his lover, a married woman. But it was the third bandalero that has gone down in legend – El Tempranillo. According to folklore he regularly visited the Vente Alfarnate.
El Tempranillo – The Spanish ‘Robin Hood’
Born in the Cordoba region in Andalucía in 1805 to a poor family, El Tempranillo’s real name was José Maria. José’s life as an outlaw started when he was just 15 years old, after he killed a man for reasons unknown.
The penalty for murder was death by hanging, so José fled to the mountains where he joined a group of other bandits.
It was during this time that José was nicknamed ‘El Tempranillo’, which meant the ‘the early-bird’. After two years, El Tempranillo broke out on his own, specialising in attacks on carriages and coaches, especially the treasury of the Kingdom.
The Spanish King, Fernando VII, did not know how to stop these great waves of bandits and sent large specialised battalions of soldiers, called Migueletes. However, nothing could stop El Tempranillo and by 1825 he had amassed his own group of 14 men and anyone passing through the mountains had to deal with him.
El Tempranillo was said to be a short man with only one hand, (he lost the other in a pistol accident), with dark hair, blue eyes, a large mouth and thin pointed nose. Yet despite his unassuming appearance, he quickly became famous for his charm, once telling a woman traveller,
“Ah, señora! A hand so beautiful as yours does not need adornments!” Whilst at the same time relieving the blushing lady of her rings and other jewellery, then kissing her hand and bidding her a safe journey!
One day he visited the Venta Alfarnate inn and was so hungry that he went up to a table where some people were quietly eating, and asked if he could join them. The group refused to let him join them, using the excuse that they did not have a spoon to give him to eat with.
El Tempranillo was angered and took a piece of bread from his bag to use as a spoon and started to eat from their pot. Once the pot had been emptied El Tempranillo said,
“As we have finished the food in the pot, let us now eat the spoons.” He quickly ate his spoon made of bread and forced the other men to bite theirs which were made of wood.
However, he also acquired a ‘Robin Hood’ like reputation in Spain for redistributing his ill-gotten wealth among the poor and needy.
El Tempranillo became a cult figure throughout Andalucía and beyond. At one point, frustrated authorities offered a reward of 6000 Reales to anyone who apprehended El Tempranillo, dead or alive. However, his daring broad daylight hold-ups and his increasing popularity amongst the general public, eventually forced King Fernando VII to offer him a pardon in return for his working for the state.
El Tempranillo took this opportunity and was made Commander in Chief of the ‘Escuadrón Franco de Protección y Seguridad Pública de Andalucía’ (a precursor to Spain’s Guardia Civil). However his new role was short lived and the bandit turned policeman died after he was injured in a shoot-out while pursuing a rival bandit in 1833.
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Alfarnate pages guide
Use the links below to explore what you can see and do in Alfarnate, what festivals take place through the year, and to read about the area’s fascinating history.