Viniegra de Abajo is located between the green mountains of La Rioja, with its handful of villagers, its cows, its sheep and its beautiful cobblestone streets.
Anyone would think, and forgive the truism, that here time seems to have frozen and things are still the same as they were in the sixteenth century when the grouping of the so-called Seven Villages was founded.
But the history of Viniegra begins earlier. Much earlier… So much so that, according to a legend, it already existed in Roman times under the name of Lutia. It is said that when the army of Spicio, the African attacked Numantia, four hundred young men from Lutia were preparing to leave to fight alongside the Numantines. But they were betrayed and handed over , and as punishment they all had their right hand cut off, this happened on a hill that, from then on, would be called Cerro de la Traición (Hill of Betrayal). This story might seem a little unbelievable, but there is something more real in the past of the village, and they are the remains of a possible Visigoth settlement. In other words, trust the legend or archaeology, the truth is this place does not lack antiquity.
It does not lack beauty either, of course. Watching over the town from the nearby Turza Mountain, you will find the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, very similar to the Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro. It is in charge of protecting this mountain landscape, its traditional livestock houses, a few stately homes and some beautiful examples of religious architecture, such as the Church of Our Lady of Assumption with its reddish stones and its five centuries old. Add on to them the hermitages of Santiago, la Soledad and San Millán, and you will be able to see the result: A beautiful and peaceful population of shepherds located in an environment rich in stories, peace, beauty and legends.
And if you would like another example of the latter, listen carefully:
They say that the Urbión Lagoon, near the village, is bottomless. And that, somehow, its waters and those of the sea are connected. One proof is that when there is a marine storm, the surface of the lagoon becomes rough with no reason; and another one is that in this waters timber and pieces of shipwrecked ships very far away in the ocean have come to appear. Perhaps you prefer to believe that the depth does not exceed a few meters, but who knows, if you ask a local of a certain age about these events, you might have your doubts …