The Romans gave it the category of road, of an ancestral route around the first century B.C, and they contributed with it to its survival in time. Place of passing and interchanging, where, even today, one can track the work of engineering and the trace that later the different cultures that have been part of the Iberian Peninsula left. The result is an important historic and artistic heritage, which, along with the wide range of scenery, gives good incentives to start the journey. Religious motivations, derived from the St James Way side, cultural ones or just those linked to leisure and nature, are currently the main attractions of the Roman road of the Silver Route between Mérida and Astorga.
The distances that separate the inhabited towns require to prepare the tour exhaustively, ensuring the accommodation and the provisioning. The proposed division into stages respond to these conditions , but, moreover, the extra data gives information to plan the day's journeys in a much more personal way.
The bridge over Albarregas river and the aqueduct of Los Milagros are the reference to set out for the Roman road known as Silver Route which linked Emerita Augusta and Asturica Augusta. The design is still visible heading north, with its low ridge-shape outline, kerbs and milestones that clearly signal the miles from Emerita. In the twenty-first century, what we still have from the historic route, claims for respect and the right to be walked and not to fall into oblivion. All this, knowing that the preservation of authenticity well worth the effort of jumping a fence or a wrought iron gate which improperly block the way. In the last section of the stage, now close to Aljucén, land consolidation for farming makes it impossible to follow it, reason why another alternative is necessary.
Lodging: Mérida, Aljucén.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Mirandilla, El Carrascalejo.
In the vicinity of Aljucén, the remains of the Roman bridge show the point where the Silver Route crossed the river. It is possible to follow the road in much of the route towards the mountain pass of Las Herrerías, although the right to pass will again depend on jumping some fence or another. Already in the outskirts of Casas de Don Antonio the mansió Ad Sorores would be placed and the intrinsic value of the Roman road will join the evocative potential of many milestones, some still in their original location. Witnesses of the time, they were designed to mark the distance and honour the memory of Roman emperors, but their task has changed and so they have had the role of letter-boxes, they point limits, they serve as columns, they form part of fences and buildings of all types or have become mere ornaments.
Lodging: Alcuéscar, Aldea del Cano.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Alcuéscar, Casas de Don Antonio, Aldea del Cano.
The route which, excepting in some short sections, coincides with the route of the original Roman road, easily takes you to the second mansio, Castra Caecilia, nowadays Cáceres. The milestones in Dehesa del Garabato remind us of the Roman work which is still passable here. The crossing of the air field of la Cervera and Salor river by the Mocha Roman brigde, now in the vicinity of Valdesalor, lead to the mountain pass of Las Gamellas which has the first views of the city declared World Heritage. Before, a look into the so-called Casa del Trasquilón house, where up to seven milestones were reused in its construction and which will allow us to gather sensations.
Lodging: Valdesalor, Cáceres.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Valdesalor.
Having made the tour between Cáceres and Casar de Cáceres by road and out of the old route, the most interesting thing, due to both the relics and the scenery, is between the second locality and the Alcántara reservoir. The Roman road called Camino the la Plata way or Camino de las Barcas way, passes through a high plateau where the spots have names as evocative as Arenal del Espino, Arenal de la Atalaya, La Higuera, Lomo de la Plata or Cumbre Oscura. There are many construction ruins of lateral supports and the characteristic mountain ridged outline, as well as a good number of milestones.Once you go down towards the reservoir the trail of the Roman road is lost under waters to be recovered further on, once Almonte and Tajo rivers are crossed. The mansio of Turmulus was placed in the outline of the route.
Lodging: Casar de Cáceres, Alconétar.
Agreeable route with the only difficulty of the ascent of the Castaños mountain pass, where it is necessary to go off course. The rest of the stage goes through the ancient road whose usage has survived over centuries. The high plateau with little vegetation of the first part contrasts with the idyllic meadow of the vicinity of Grimaldo, where holm oaks and cork oaks root in the paved mountain -ridged shape- outline of the old way.
Lodging: Cañaveral, Grimaldo.
This section of the Silver Route passes through the north-eastern side of the region of Alagón river, and in its common role of marker, it bears stony or metal fences, under which it is even noticeable. To the heritage of the Roman road, you have to add Rusticiana, the fourth mansio from Mérida, in the spot of Fuente del Sapo, placed just before catching sight of the exotic walls of Galisteo.The milestones, some easily seen, like the ones exhibited in Carcaboso, and others not so much visible, go on increasing the long list. To all this we must add, the beautiful landscape of meadows, woods and olive groves that accompanies the fertile irrigated fields, around towns with their own history.
Lodging: Galisteo, Carcaboso.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Holguera, Riolobos, Galisteo, Carcaboso.
The idea that a good way to know the route is on foot and with effort is revealed in this long walk. In return, the day's journey offers a good deal of natural, scenic and heritage richness. One can cover beautiful and lonely spots through spectacular meadows, one wades through streams with changeable volumes of water, proves the real garden that causes the microclimate of the valley of EL Ambroz and everything in the presence of the silent old Roman road, unquestionable fellow traveller, which, in Cáparra, fifth mansio from Mérida, has the honour to pass under the emblematic quadrifrons arch . The milestones of the area still mark the milestones covered from the capital of Emerita.
Lodging: Oliva de Plasencia, Aldeanueva del Camino.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Oliva de Plasencia, Guijo de Granadilla, Jarilla, Aldeanueva del Camino.
You leave behind the province of Cáceres once you have passed Baños de Montemayor, whose medicinal water had already been worked by the Romans, and you enter in the province of Salamanca. The ascent of the mountain pass that separate both provinces gives us wonderful views of the valley and highlights a natural passage whose use goes back in time. In the steep slope, the hillsides full up with deciduous forests and the vegetation of the bank of the Cuerpo de Hombre river, which will become a fellow traveller in much of the route, contribute to the scenic beauty. The mansio Caelionicco would be placed in Baños or in Peñacaballera and relics such as the numerous milestones, kerbs, and sewers validate the route of the Vía . Once In La Calzada de Béjar, the Roman fort, from its exceptional enclave, seems to continue fulfilling the role of watchtower, which it was built for.
Lodging: Baños de Montemayor, Puerto de Béjar, Peñacaballera, La Calzada de Béjar.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: La Calzada de Béjar.
The itinerary goes by an easy ascent through meadows and fields, between the mountain ranges of Béjar and France, with just the difficulty when crossing Sangusín river. The route of this ancient road is followed and it is marked, once more, by the presence of numerous milestones, some of them in situ , marking the exact miles from Mérida. Exactly, the mansio Ad Lippos would be placed 44 miles away and therefore in the vicinity of Valverde de Valdecasa.In the vicinity of Fuenterroble de Salvatierra, we can observe the joining of the Roman road and St. James' way, both sharing past and present to survive over time.
Lodging: Valverde de Valdelacasa, Valdelacasa, Fuenterroble de Salvatierra.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Los Santos, Valdelacasa, Fuenterroble de Salvatierra.
The place name Cañada de la Plata signals the coincidence of cattle route and Roman road, fact that has favoured its preservation with its characteristic fossilized outline and its stone filling. Although the milestones have been scattered over different places, the two from the estate la Dueña are in their place of origin. One of them marks the mile CLIX, where the mansio Sentice would be placed. The non-existence of nearby towns allows one to enjoy the loneliness of the meadow scenery of great natural beauty, that, now in the last section, is substituted by crop fields.
Lodging: Pedrosillo de los Aires, San Pedro de Rozados, Morille.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Casafranca, Morille.
Fidelity to the historical background leads to transit on the asphalt that has covered the Roman road and the cattle route in the middle of a large, sunny landscape that prepares the traveller for the vicinity of Salamanca. The town, declared World Heritage Site, where the mansio Salmantic would be, is soon seen in the distance. The most obvious vestiges of the road are between Aldeatejada and the capital itself, which in parallel to the stream Zurguèn lead to the magnificent Roman bridge over the River Tormes.
Lodging: Aldeatejada, Salamanca.
The administrative divisions and the existing material in the surroundings meant, already in Roman times, differences in the construction of the Roam road which would influence on the preservation of the same. The modern agricultural breaking-up has meant another serious injury, but it is still possible to follow it due to its usage as a cattle track. There are many examples of evocative place names such as Calzada de Valdunciel, where moreover fragments of possible milestones are exhibited. Once at the end of the route, between Izcala and El Cubo, the mansio Sibariam would be set, the tenth from Merida. The landscape shows the last meadows and announces the quiet beauty of the cereal fields only disturbed by the sound of the vehicles which run on the modern motorway.
Lodging: Calzada de Valdunciel, El Cubo de la Tierra del Vino.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: El Cubo de la Tierra del Vino.
By the Tierra del Vino (the land of wine), the Roman road and the cattle routes coincide again in their passing towards the north of the Península, away from the modern roads. One crosses arable fields though an uneven land where the attractive of the arranged vineyards gives an extra value to the scenery. To this you have to add the mirage caused by the modern reproductions of milestones which take us back in time and point the itinerary to follow. An original one, well preserved and with the miles which separate Mérida from the place where it appeared, can be seen in the Museum of Zamora. Without complete unanimity, in the provincial capital the mansio Ocelo Duri would be situated.
Lodging: Villanueva de Campeán, Zamora.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Villanueva de Campeán, Federation of Associations of Friends of the Silver Route (Zamora).
If in the province of Salamanca the declaration of the Silver Route as Historic Monument in 1931 secured some protection to the road, the same did not happen in the Zamora and Leon ones, where the moving towards the so-called progress has favoured the network of new carriageways at the expense of the old roads, including the Roman road. However, the course tries to be faithful to the memory and the archaeological remains and goes through the land called Tierra del Pan (land of bread), sunny fields where people have settled down dedicated to dry farming .The ruins of Castrotorafe are a reference point, a fortress which controlled the crossing of Esla river for centuries and possible location of the mansio Vico Aquario.
Lodging: Roales Pan, Montamarta, Fontanillas de Castro, Riego del Camino.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Roales Pan, Montamarta, Manganeses de la Lampreana.
To The landscape that makes up the grain fields some holm-oak woods are added, and in the vicinity of the river Esla, the poplar groves that announce the approach of its bed. Just near it, between Villaveza derl Agua and Milles de la Polvorosa, where the bridge of the Priory of Roman origin was, the CCLIX milestone appeared, currently oexhibited in the Museum of Zamora, which shows the unified outline of the Via de la Plata route. Fuentes de Ropel the Rock or the same Benavente are places that are considered as locations of mansio Brigeco.
Lodging: Granja de Moreruela, Benavente.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Granja de Moreruela, Villaveza del Agua.
In Benavente the transit between the plateau and the river Órbigo takes place, leading to Leon lands. From Villabrázaro and Maire de Castroponce, peaceful villages of adobe architecture, the emblematic bridge of Vizana is reached, which serves as a provincial boundary, whose name refers to the cattle route that crossed these districts. Doubts about whether the Roman engineers laid out the road so close to the river course, do not prevent the transit of farming roads farming or other newly created leading to the old Asturica, today Astorga.
Lodging: Villabrázaro, Alija del Infantado.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: La Torre del Valle, Pobladura del Valle, Maire de Castroponce, Alija del Infantado.
Along the Camino Real up to the point where it has been respected by the new tracks, the route towards the end of the stage passes through the peaceful towns of La Nora del Rio, Navianos de la Vega, San Juan de Torres and San Martín, unique sets of traditional architecture including wineries and whose natural environment consists of farmland and the wooded banks of Órbigo river. In the vicinity of San Martin de Torres Bedunia is documented, the last mansio of the Silver Route before Astorga, 293 miles from Merida.
Lodging: La Bañeza.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Quintana del Marco, Santa Elena de Jamuz.
In Palacios de la Valduerna, neglected remains in the transition of the old way are preserved in a stretch of about 400 metres, From now on, past and present seem to merge to see how Roman road, cattle tracks, railway, A- road N-VI- and motorway A-6 follow the same path. After crossing the river Turienzo by the so-called Valimbre bridge Astorga soon appears on the horizon, the end of our way to CCCXIII miles from Merida. Many are the preserved remains of the time when Asturica Augusta was a strategic point of the peninsular Roman northwest and crossroads, a condition that still remains at the foot of the mythical Mt Teleno.
Association of Towns of The Silver Route: Palacios de la Valduerna, Riego de la Vega, Valderrey, San Justo de la Vega, Astorga, Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Astorga.
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