16th Century Spanish Home
Catalina da Gata
House and Land
The Spanish home would consist of an entrance hall, a low paved room with fine furniture for visitors to wait. Off the entrance hall there might be rooms for sleeping since this floor was well darkened. At the end of the room would be a staircase that would lead to the second floor with living and reception rooms.
The lower levels would be kept cool in summer by sprinkling water on the stone floors, and kept warmer in winter by laying against the walls rush matting and luxurious carpets on the floor.
The first room on the upper floor would be an antechamber in which the servants would greet guests. On this floor would also be suite de estrados (drawing rooms). Along the walls are many paintings and fine tapestries of various scenes.
The largest of these drawing rooms, Estrado de Cumph, would be used for entertaining guests of great prominence; a balcony with a wrought iron fence would adjoin this suite to give a view of the countryside.
This great room is divided by a screen, the ladies of the house squatting on pillows in the Moorish fashion to one side on a dais, while the other side was for the men who would sit in chairs to entertain.
The private quarters were generally simple in comparison. Oiled parchment covered the windows, and a chamber pot would sit in the corner to be emptied by the servants.
Adjoining the house would be the servant's quarters and the stables. The land about the apartments (term for the house) is well cultivated with vineyards. Other areas of the countryside were used for cereal. Because of the climate it is well suited for white wines.
City and Region
Nearby is the city of Valladolid, occasional home of the Rulers of Spain. Felipe ll was born there at the Plaza de San Pablo. Throughout Spanish history it has been the political centre, witnessing the marriages, births and deaths of many prominent figures of Spanish history.
The city is in the plains between Madrid and the northern coast. It is at the junction of the Pisuerga River and the Duero River. The province of Valladolid is described as a flat, monotonous endless plain of cereals studded with innumerable castles. It is also home to one of Spain's first universities, the colleges of Vera Cruz and San Gregorio.
The land is a combination of several different geographic zones, dry desert, wide-open plains of wheat and cereal, pine forests and mountains.
Valladolid is located in Old Castile, which includes cities such as Avila and Segovia. Old Castile runs from the northern coast of Spain near Bilboa, bordered to the northwest by Leon, to the south by New Castile, to the west from Portugal near Plasencia, and with the Kingdoms of Navarre and Aragon bordering it to the east.
The country of Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula it shares with Portugal. It is separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees Mountains. It is otherwise surrounded by water, the Bay of Biscay to the north, the Mediterranean Sea at its south and east and the Atlantic Ocean to its west. The peninsula is mostly a large plateau, with mountain ranges surrounding it and across it.
The climate consists of hot, dry summers and harsh, cold winters. Maritime climate exists in the northern parts of the countries with a mild winter, warm summers and abundant rainfall all year. A Mediterranean climate exists along the south and east coastal plains with irregular rainfall.
Though there is little rainfall in the region, there are many rivers that crisscross the country bringing water to much needed areas. Thanks to the Moors and their irrigation systems, there are oases of greenery in even the driest climate. The major cities are all located on the rivers.
Marcelin Defourneaux Daily Life in the Golden Age of Spain
Jan Read et al The Wine and Food of Spain
Madge Phillips Spain
CF Black et al Cultural Atlas of the Renaissance
Turista Virtual De Valladolid http://www.gui.uva.es/turista/