Following in the footsteps of the Borgia

Architecture, History and Culture Comments (0)

One Valencian family has inspired famous paintings, great literary works and left a trail for visitors to follow through Valencia.

The Route of the Borgia (or Borja) is a cultural exploration following in the footprints of what has been described as the most universal Valencian family, the Borgia.Catedral de Valencia_ Foto Pablo Casino 4 (2)

The Borgia have been written about by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Mario Puzo and, most famously, by Machiavelli. They shaped Valencia’s history the way no other family has and you can learn more by starting the route at its beginning in the city of Gandia, through Valencian towns and past monuments in where the Borgia left their mark.

The Borgia, gave Valencia two Popes, Alexander VI and Calixtus III. You will find both staring back at you from an engraved medallion as you peer through the baroque door of the cathedral.

Inside the cathedral is the San Francisco de Borja chapel, where two paintings by Francisco de Goya depict aspects from the life of the Saint. The most important works are the cathedral frescos by Paolo de San Leocadio and Francisco Pagano, which were commissioned by Rodrigo de Borja.

Located in the presbytery, these masters painted a colourful renaissance al fresco set that depict a series of angels singing to the accompaniment of their instruments.

A few steps from the cathedral is the Palacio de las Cortes (Regional Government), that in its day was the Palacio de los Borja. The renaissance gothic style was commissioned by the Dukes of Gandia and Cardinal Rodrigo de Borja, later to become Pope Alexander VI. Located in the Plaza de San Lorenzo, it continues to be a strategic enclave, as it is in the heart of the city, yet has easy access to the garden belt and the hills beyond. One of the architects who designed the palace was Pere Comte, who also designed the La Lonja Silk Exchange building which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Catedral de Valencia_ Foto Pablo Casino 7 (2)

In the Plaza del Patriarca is La Nave, the original University of Valencia building, inaugurated by Alexander VI, who issued a papal bull that enabled this institution to award degrees. Both popes have streets named after them in the city, Calixto III, which leads off the central Gran Via Fernando el Catolico, and Alejandro VI, leading off Avenida del Aniguo Reino, next to the popular neighbourhood of Ruzafa.

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On June 12, 2013

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