|Plaza de la Constitución|
If you are searching for hidden treasure, the white village of Villanueva del Rosario could be a good starting point. Easily accessible at 39 kilometres north of Malaga City, just 2.5 kilometres off the main Malaga/Granada (A359) road, legend has it that during Roman times treasure was buried beneath the Peñon de Solis (3 kilometres from the village centre) and to this day it has never been recovered.
The real treasure is found and enjoyed in the form of the stunning surroundings of this delightful Andalucian village, renowned not only for its beautiful countryside, but also for its excellent olive oil. Villanueva del Rosario is about 700 metres above sea level, covers an area of under 45 km2 and has a population of approximately 3,500, a few of which are British people who have fallen in love with this idyllic inland country paradise. The little white village houses reflect the typical Andalucian architecture and traditional pueblo life. The narrow streets are particularly clean and white, and always very inviting, as if waiting for a visitor. Indeed many visitors from nearby Malaga have found this village so enchanting, that they have either bought a second home in the village or built one in the surrounding countryside. These rural retreats are built in the traditional style and often have a little fruit orchard or garden, for outside family gatherings in the warm summer months.
The village lies, in the midst of olive groves and wheat fields, dotted with pretty Andalucian 'cortijos' (farmhouses) which are linked by little dirt tracks woven into the hillside. It is south east of Antequera, on the side the Cerro de la Cruz hills and sheltered by the Jobo and Camarolo Mountains. These hills give a spectacular backdrop, given that the limestone has been worn over time to create numerous ridges, jutting rocks and sheer precipices of impressive dimensions. This is in the heart of serious hill walking, mountain bike and horse riding country and is also a favourite destination for potholers, who come to explore the many caves in the nearby mountainside.
Romans, then Arab and Visigoth settlers took up residence by the banks of the river. You can still see many of the Roman roads and many objects of historic interest, such as glass fragments, coins, bracelets and pieces of ancient pottery have been found throughout the years. The town centre, which was built in the 18th Century, was known for its willow trees (sauces), which are still in evidence today and which originally gave the village the name of 'Puebla de Saucedo'. At that time the village belonged to the neighbouring town of Archidona. But in 1812 it became a village in its own right. The people of Archidona were strongly opposed the independence of the village and the dispute went on until 1827, when finally the Council of King's Chambers had to step in. The result was the change of name to Villanueva del Rosario in 1830.
Places of Interest
There are two interesting Copper Age archaeological sites in the area - one at the Finca Tardón and another in the Peñon de Oso area of the nearby mountain.
There are also Visigoth burial grounds in the surrounding hills, but unfortunately people have damaged and stolen from them over time, leaving little to be seen today.
Climbing up the hillside, you can see the shrine built in honour of the 'Virgen del Rosario', patron saint of the village. If you carry on up the hill, you reach the natural spring 'El Nacimiento', which provides the drinking water supply for the village. Higher up the mountain leads to the Hondoneros plain at the base of the Sierra Los Camarolos and Sierra Gorda Mountains. Reach the plain by following a track on the hillside which has been improved to allow for car access. You will soon see this area of great natural beauty - a wonderful place for the whole family to really enjoy a day out in unspoilt countryside. There are natural water springs and an abundance of vegetation, including; pines, Holm oaks, gall oaks, hawthorn trees and many species of small trees and shrubs, which surround and overflow onto cultivated pastures. Also, near to the natural water springs there are poplar and ash trees as well as rushes, all of which all add an extra brushstroke of splendour to this beautiful location.
Fiestas & Festivals
As well as being an idyllic spot for anyone who appreciates clean air and country walks, there is also a rich village life, which includes some very colourful fiestas.
On the 25th April, as in other agricultural communities, there are festivities in honour of the patron saint of the countryside (el campo) with 'La Romeria de San Marcos'.
The village comes alive in the first week in August as it celebrates the 'feria'(fare) with 'La Veladilla del Carmen'.
In October there is another fare to celebrate the patron saint, 'La Virgen del Rosario'.
Food & Shopping
When visiting the village, it is worth stopping off at a local bar or restaurant to try a local dish of game, such as rabbit or partridge with rice, or one of the many local variations on gazpacho. Other local specialities include wild mushrooms and fresh asparagus. You must also try the exquisite home made 'tortas de bizcocho' sponge cake, made from local almonds and olive oil.
To take home something authentic from the area, you can buy collectable ceramic work, tapestries, rugs and carpets, made in local workshops.
With so much on offer, you may decide to stay longer than a just a day. Many people spend weekends and vacations in and around the village, in rural tourism hostels, small hotels and self catering accommodation. There is also large municipal outdoor swimming pool in the village, with pretty gardens, restaurant and bar, which is open to the public for the summer months from the beginning of June till the end of September.
For further information contact the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento)
Villanueva del Rosario, Town Hall: Tel: +(0034) 952 74 20 08