To date, a good number of Spanish villages proudly hold the declaration of a historical-artistic ensemble. But the first of all to obtain such an honour was the beautiful town of La Alberca in Salamanca, way back in 1940.
La Alberca is one of those localities with a solid character, and which keeps many traditions alive, firmly rooted in religion. It is located in the Sierra de Francia, a quite unusual name for a region of Salamanca. The toponym comes, apparently, from the French people who came to these lands during its repopulation in medieval times, something that can be explained by the marriage of the French nobleman, Raimundo de Borgoña, with the queen from Leon Urraca I.
It was also a Frenchman, Simon Roland, who later took the name of Simon Vela, who discovered an image of the Virgin Mary on one of the peaks of the mountain range, back in the fifteenth century. A sanctuary of enormous importance for the region was built in the place, so much so, that even in Don Quixote, the Virgin of the Peña de Francia is mentioned.
This intense religiosity enthusiasm of the area is also noticeable in the number of hermitages that it has. Some of them, like San Blas, are in the village. And if we mention that one, in particular, it is because is where they have been celebrating for a long time the Pendon Day, a pilgrimage that remembers how the women from La Alberca faced and defeated the Portuguese in 1475. As a sign of gratitude, the Dukes of Alba invited the whole village to wine, a tradition that is still maintained today at the expense of the Town Hall.
Back to the Dukes, tell you that they also paid for the church tower. But it turned out that they ran out of metal to finish one of the bells, so the people of the village brought their jewellery and metal belongings to melt them and so the work could be finished off.
It is interesting to think about all these things while you walk around the beautiful place of La Alberca, its streets and its mountain houses of stone and wood. And don't be surprised if on your walk you see a loose pig tiptoeing down the road. It is what they call the Marrano of San Anton, another of the traditions of this place.
Every year, on the thirteenth of June, a pig is chosen, blessed, and a bell is placed around its neck. Then it is let loose around the village doing its own thing until the seventeenth of January, date in which it is raffled. There is even a stone monument next to the church with the figure of a pig.
As we already told you, this village is different than most…