It is located at the crossroads of roads, as the Monastery Route, the Wine Route and the French Way of Saint James coincide here. The river Tuerto crosses the town of Alesanco, and although it seems too calm and peaceful, after a strong storm and downpour it shows its brave character. There are documented references to Alesanco as early as the 8th century, when Alfonso I, king of Asturias, in his incursion against the Arabs cut down and razed the lands where the village is located today. Another reference in which the locality is cited is in the tenth century, and it is said that the Navarrese king Sancho Garcés donates to the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña an estate located between Azofra and Alesanco. In 1046, García el de Nájera received a donation of land in Alesanco. In the bull of 1199, when privileges are granted to the Monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla, the village is mentioned by the name of Alesancho. Santiago being the patron saint of Alesanco and being located on the banks of the Jacobean route, it is not surprising that in his coat of arms, until almost the end of the twentieth century, the image of Santiago Matamoros on a battlefield.
In Alesanco there are several houses more than two hundred years old with an important aspect, and some have coats of arms on their façade. For relaxation and rest it also has pleasant gardens and walks. It is known that in the 16th century there were up to three hermitages in Alesanco, but there are no remains of any of them. One kilometre from the village you can admire the 15th century hermitage dedicated to Our Lady of the Prado, patron saint of Alesanco. Built with ashlar stone, it is believed that the hermitage was built over the ruins of an earlier Romanesque style and was dedicated to San Pelayo. The image of the Virgin could have been from the 13th century. In the centre of the village, in the Plaza de la Constitución is the Town Hall in an 18th century building and in front of it is the 16th century parish church dedicated to the Virgen de la Asunción, its main altarpiece is Baroque from the 18th century and its tower has three sections with ashlar stone corners and brick walls. In Alesanco you cannot miss the bust of the Marqués de la Ensenada, Don Zenón de Somodevilla y Bengoechea, who, despite the diatribe between Alesanco and Hervías about which of them was the cradle of such an illustrious character, given that it consists of two baptismal certificates, one in each village, with different dates but both authentic. Don Zenón himself declared under oath, when he asked to be admitted as a brother in the Royal Congregation of Valvanera, to be a native of the town of Alesanco. This bust was made for the Ibero-American Fair of Seville in 1929.
Alesanco celebrates its patron saint Santiago Apóstol on 25 July and on 13 September it honours the Virgen del Prado, patron saint of the village. During the course of the year, several processions are held in the town. On the first Sunday of May the Virgen del Prado is taken in pilgrimage to its hermitage, from where it was transferred to the village church, also in procession, on the day it is celebrated in September. And Santiago is also processioned on its day.
In Alesanco, as in other Rioja villages, it is traditional to honour the Virgin of Valvanera, patron saint of La Rioja, with a pilgrimage that generally takes place on the third Sunday in June and that, starting from the village and passing through as many others, after a walk of 37 kilometres one arrives at Valvanera where, after the mass and the offerings to the Virgin, a picnic is served.
At Alesanco, a tortilla competition is normally held during the Santiago festivities. In order to participate and show who does it best, it is necessary to sign up first.
Legend has it that the image of the Virgen del Prado was found on 22 January, in the place where the hermitage is located, it was on a square stone from which a spring sprang and surrounded by lilies.
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Alesanco is in the middle of the LR-206 road, connecting the town with Azofra and the A-12 between Burgos and Logroño on one side and with Cañas and Berceo on the other. The LR-312 also passes through Alesanco, linking the town with Cordovín and Badarán, as well as with Rodezno and Ollauri in the vicinity of Haro.
Alesanco has an intercity bus service every day of the week that covers the route Logroño-Valgañon-Logroño..
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