The Duke’s Parador: Envy of Nobles, Paradise of Kings
“… founded in such an excellent spot,
enclosed by such fertile areas
and so many temples,
that my description will fall short,
as fields, rivers and fountains
make even the sea envious …”
At the beginning of the 17th century, the court of Spain was moved to Valladolid. The duke well knew how to take advantage of this miraculous event, with surprising and profitable results.
After extensive development and esthetic alterations, the duke came up with a complex strategy for creating his own court in the town. This court would attract the favor of the monarch, Felipe II, and draw him away from other less clever, or less ambitious, nobles and courtiers.
The duke would enjoy just one score years as the king’s favorite.
However, this was quite sufficient, judging from the results. Between 1600 and 1617, this town was so enlarged and fortunate that it would come to boast, with good reason, of being one of the best, most magnificent and most luxurious historic and artistic sites of those times, the period of Juan de Herrera.
The all-powerful duke, plenipotentiary minister of the monarch Felipe III, turned the town into an opportune and opportunistic recreational court. It was a privileged, obligatory, and very select meeting place for illustrious personages and a handful of the best-known artists of the time, among them Góngora and Lope de Vega.
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