General view of the Royal Seat
Already in the Middle Ages, the kings of Castile, who often resided in the city of Segovia, would hunt in the woodlands situated at the foot of the Guadarrama Mountains, in particular in the Valsain region, where Henry IV built the palace known as “Casa del Bosque”
The Royal Palace of Valsain, built on the instructions of Philip II when he returned to Spain from the Low Countries, is important because it saw the introduction of Flemish and Italian elements then constituting novelties, yet destined to endure in Spanish architecture. In the work directed by Luis and Gaspar de Vega, two phases may be distinguished: 1552?1558?1563. In the first a square palace in the Castilian tradition was constructed; in the second, characterised by an Italian style inspired in Sebastiano Serlio, to the south were added an enclosed garden, the “new tower” (the most important feature still standing) and courtyard for festivities, and the appearance of the whole complex was unified by the creation of high roofs in the Flemish manner, to the King's taste, with fantastic chimneys in a Gothic spirit yet employing a Renaissance repertory recalling Chambord, which Gaspar de Vega had visited in 1556. A fire in 1682, and then the creation of La Granja, led to its decay, but its rapid ruin in the 20th century is because it passed into private hands in 1869.
Plaza del Palacio with the Royal Collegiate Church
The Royal Palace from the top of the Cascade
The facade of Juvarra and the Parterre from the top of the Cascade
Parterre of Fame from the Horseshoe Courtyard