One Of My Favourite Places to Visit
Thirty minutes from our Village, our friends used to live in a lovely village called Simat de la Valldigna. We would visit on a Sunday and go for lovely walks through the grounds. Heading from our village along the Borgias Route towards the coast, Simat de la Valldigna is situated in an extensive but beautiful valley that is part of the historical Borgias Route. The Borgias Route ranges from Gandia to Xativa to Valencia with other villages in-between. If you are a history buff, then this may be something you will enjoy, as it is full to the brim with ancient and archival buildings and artworks. This route would take you a couple of days to do and would be an opportunity to see part of this lovely countries different landscapes and bygone times.
The Borgias Family (if you never watched the TV Program years back) were a prominent family from Gandia. It was through an aggressive and resourceful campaign that all roads lead to Rome. It is here they produce two Popes, various politicians and other church leaders. The family were exceedingly contentious and feared during the time. Many stories of the Borgias associated with them are murder, blackmail and incest being top of the list.
The Monastery of Santa Maria de la Valldigna was built and was owned by the Cistercians Monks in 1297 and used until 1835, when the monastery lands after various civil wars with feuding fractions, had their lands confiscated. The confiscations of lands affected many orders throughout Spain, as there was a significant shift in the middle-class in endeavouring farmlands for their own personal enterprises. The building is a mix of gothic and baroque architecture.
The Cistercians or White Monks (named due to the coloured cowl they wore), owned the whole valley in which it was given to them by King James II of Aragon. For five hundred and thirty-eight years the Cistercians lived and died in until rioters plundered the Monastery of Santa Maria in 1835. Parts of the monastery were destroyed, while other items sold off or plundered. It stood abandoned for many years, purchased by a landowner until 1991. The Valencian Government then purchased and what land left with it and proceeded to restore it in an amendable way, but there are still on going works, as with any monument or building.
If you ever visit, it is free (yes FREE) to enter and, I will say, that you may have the place to yourself, as it is not a busy tourist trap. There are no cantina’s on the grounds for drinks, so it is advised to bring a bottle of water or drinks with you while exploring. Outside the doors, in the village of Simat there are a numerous amount of cafe/bars in close proximity if you need to get a cool drink or something to eat.
There are many great opportunities for those budding photographers around the grounds. Especially with the different architectures that have been layered on the Monastery over the years it was in service. It is also a favourite for wedding photos in the district. They also hold many concerts and theatre productions on the grounds as well which you can find here
You can find Santa Maria de la Valldigna Monastery at Plaça de l’Abadia, s/n, 46750 Simat de la Valldigna, Valencia, Spain.
September to May Open
10am until 6pm.