It is located in Cuadrilla de Añana, specifically in Villanañe de Valdegovía, a small town in the province of Álava. The history of the tower is intrinsically linked to that of its inhabitants. The ancestral lineage that has inhabited it since the beginning of its long history seems to date back to the seventh century when a Visigoth chief named Ruy Perez ordered the construction of a tower in such a strategic place. Centuries later, in the 12th century, the courage and skill with weapons of one of his descendants, Doña María Ruiz Pérez, who took Alfonso I the Battalion, King of Aragon, prisoner in battle against Alfonso VI, King of León and Castile, gave rise to the beginning of the Varona lineage.
In recognition of his bravery, which was typical of a man, the king decided that from then on his surname would become Varona and that Ruy would be changed to Rodrigo, a name that became the nickname of the first-born of the family. It is remarkable that the tower has been inhabited uninterruptedly by his direct descendants. The origin of this current tower, built on top of a previous one, dates back to the end of the 14th century and a century later, in the 15th century, the palace was added in Gothic Renaissance style.
The military architecture of the 14th century is spectacularly displayed in this striking fortified complex of the Varona Tower-Palace. Surrounding the whole, a wall with its battlements and arrow slits shares its work of protection and defence with a moat full of water that is saved by two pontoons to give access to the enclosure. The tower, with a square floor plan and four floors, shows its role as a true fortification; it is topped with battlements and at the top of its façade can be seen defensive matacanes, garitones for surveillance and some lighting holes. The interior of the palace is carefully guarded and surrounded by a traditional atmosphere, good examples of the furniture of the Varona family. Also striking is a scales with several centuries of history. The castles and fortresses of Álava can be seen in a room with information and audiovisual panels, and the construction phases of the Varona tower can be seen in a model.
One of the many jewels kept in the palace is the collection of wallpapers which cover the walls of several of the rooms and which, perfectly preserved, impress with their colour. These papers, made in France and dated between the 17th and 18th centuries, were commissioned to replace the tapestries that covered the walls of the palace at that time. Decorating and completing this historic site is an area of gardens built in the nineteenth century and in the middle a fountain with the coat of arms and the effigy of "La Varona". Next to the Tower-Palace of the Varona family is the church of the Assumption, dating from the 16th century and now closed to worship, whose bell tower has no bells.
According to tradition, Don Pelayo rested in this tower-palace after the Battle of Guadalete in 711, and it was here that he conceived and prepared the Reconquest.
The floor of the atrium at the entrance to the palace has a rosette of rounded pebbles with oval and straight leaves, the circumference of which has the same diameter as the main bell of Toledo Cathedral and the thickness of the outer circle is also the same as that of the aforementioned bell. This coincidence and the fact of not knowing its motive have given rise to numerous stories in this regard.
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Legend has it that formerly the inhabitants of the village next to the Varona Tower-Palace had to pay tribute to their lords. This obligation was paid from May until the end of July and with a very peculiar form of payment, because it consisted in that during that time they took turns at night and with two sticks of five yards long they had to cross the moat hitting the water and reciting "So that the frogs do not wake up the lord". This seems to be the reason why the natives of Villanañe are affectionately called "calla frogs" in their valley.
It is on the road that joins Miranda de Ebro and Orduña where we find the detour that leads to the town of Villanañe, this village is on the road that borders the Natural Park of Valderejo. Villanañe also has a bus stop that daily covers the route Vitoria - Gasteiz, Espejo, Bóveda, connecting it also with the different towns on the route..
Once in Villanañe, a detour takes us to the Tower-palace of the Varona family where we can park our vehicle in a free car park. The path is properly signposted and can be seen from the road, so there is no loss.
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