Morning Dew Sweepers is located in a pvileged place and we are surrounded by natural areas of high ecological diversity and historical sites with extraordinary value, since we live in the socio-economic influcence area of the National Park of "Cumbres de la Sierra del Guadarrama", in the Segovian side of the protection zone, and just a few kilometers from Spanish historic sites like Royal Palace of "La Granja de San Ildefonso" and Royal Palace of "Riofrio".

Historic Heritage

We are located just 13 kilometers from the Royal Palace of "Riofrío" and 22 km. from Royal Palace of "La Granja de San Ildefonso", both part of National Heritage and only 25 kilometers from Segovia city whose old wotn and its Aqueduct were declared World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1985.

Royal Palace of "La Granja de San Ildefonso"

The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso is an 18th century palace in the small town of San Ildefonso in the hills near Segovia, 80 km north of Madrid, formerly the summer residence of the Kings of Spain since the reign of Philip V. The palace is in a restrained baroque style surrounded by extensive gardens in the French manner and sculptural fountains. It is now open to the public as a museum.

Due to their location on the forested northern slopes of the "Sierra de Guadarrama", these were favourite hunting grounds for many Castilian kings. In the 15th century, Henry IV of Castile built the first hunting lodge on the site, along with a small shrine dedicated to Saint Ildefonsus, which gave this place its first name.

Isabella I of Castile granted both buildings to the monks of the Parral monastery in Segovia, who built a farm and an almshouse alongside.

The site was purchased from the monks in 1719 by Philip V, after his summer palace nearby at Valsaín burned to a shell. Beginning in 1721, Philip began building a new palace and gardens modelled on Versailles, built by his grandfather, Louis XIV of France. Like Versailles it embraced a cour d'honneur on the approaching side, and formal gardens, with a main axis centered on the palace, that were surrounded by woodland in which further hidden garden features were disposed. Like Versailles, La Granja began as a retreat from the court but became a center of royal government.

For the architect, Philip began with an unpretentious project by the Spanish architect Teodoro Ardemans, incorporating a chapel centered on one facade, which was enlarged in a second phase, ca 1728-34 under Andrea Procaccini and Sempronio Subisati, who provided the courtyards in the flanks, then given its definitive character by Filippo Juvarra, who was brought from Turin, based on recommendations in the circle of Philip's second queen, Elizabeth Farnese of Parma, and his assistant, Giovanni Battista Sacchetti.

When the King decided to abdicate in 1724, his intention was to retire to La Granja. Unfortunately Philip's heir, King Louis I, died that same year, and Philip had to return to the throne. Consequently, a place designed for leisure and quiet retreat thus became an important meeting place for the King, his ministers and the court. The town of San Ildefonso expanded to provide housing and services to the courtiers who wanted a place near the king's favourite residence. Military barracks, a collegiate church (1721–1724, built to designs of Teodoro Ardemans, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, 22 December 1723), and even a royal glass factory (1728) were built to provide for the palace. The glass factory, which had some initial successes from 1720 at Nuevo Baztan in the province of Madrid, was moved under the direction of its Catalan foreman, Ventura Sit, to San Ildefonso, where supplies of timber were plentiful, and a royal patron was near. The best glass of Venetian type produced in the works dates from the last quarter of the 18th century. As La Granja de San Ildefonso, the glassworks continue today as a subsidiary of Saint Gobain.

The church was selected as his burial site by Philip, marking a break with his Habsburg predecessors. The frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo, completed by Francisco Bayeu, were badly damaged in a fire of 1918.

Philip's successor Ferdinand VI bequeathed the royal site of San Ildefonso, with all it contained, to his father's second wife, Isabel Farnese. At her death in 1766 it reverted to the Crown in the person of Charles III.

For the next two hundred years, La Granja was the court's main summer palace, and many royal weddings and burials, state treaties and political events took place within its walls.

Currently this royal site forms part of Spain's Patrimonio Nacional, which holds, and maintains many of the Crown's lands and palaces. It is a popular tourist attraction, with paintings, portraits, and a Museum of Flemish tapestries.

Extending over 1,500 acres (6.1 km2), the gardens around the palace are one of the best examples of 18th-century European garden design. The French designer from the official French royal offices of Robert de Cotte, René Carlier,used the natural slope from the mountains to the palace grounds both as an aid for visual perspective and as a source for sufficient head to make water shoot out of the twenty-six sculptural fountains that decorate the park. Of the elaborate "Baths of Diana", focus of several garden axes, the chronically depressed Philip remarked, "It has cost me three millions and amused me three minutes."

Sculptors arrived from Paris to execute designs on the site; they included René Frémin (1672–1744, at La Granja until 1738), to whom the execution of many vases and sculptures was attributed in 18th-century inventories, Jean Thierry, and others who are little more than names in archival references.

All of the fountains represent themes from classical mythology, including Greek deities, allegories and scenes from myths. They are cast in lead to prevent corrosion, and painted over to simulate bronze, a nobler material, or lacquered over white oxydised lead to imitate marble. A group of richly sculptural vases have been attributed to designs by the "dazzling maverick" Gilles-Marie Oppenord,[6] which were probably forwarded through the offices of Robert de Cotte, overseeing French royal building projects as intendant des Bâtiments du Roi. Bruno Pons noted in the sculptural vases "an almost excessively brilliant style, quite distinct from French royal taste and showing an undeniably superior understanding of ornament".

The original waterworks and piping are still functional. They rely purely on gravity to project water up to the forty-meter height of the fountain jet of Perseus and Andromeda. An artificial lake, El Mar, "the Sea", lies secluded at the highest point of the park, and provides a reservoir and water pressure for the whole system.

Today, only a few fountains are active each day. Twice a year, on the feast days of San Fernando (Saint Ferdinand) and San Luis (Saint Louis), all twenty-six fountains are set to play, providing a memorable show.

Royal Palace of Riofrío

The Royal Palace of Riofrío is one of the residences of the Spanish Royal Family and under the management of the Patrimonio Nacional, a government initiative dedicated to the care and maintenance of properties owned by the Spanish state which are used by the royals. Situated in the province of Segovia, central Spain, the building is set in a wooded deer-park.

Queen Elisabeth Farnese was widowed in 1746, her husband King Philip V being succeeded by Ferdinand VI, her step-son. As such, to ensure that Elisabeth would remain away from the court, King Ferdinand VI agreed to the construction of a palace at Riofrío for the her own disposal. During the reign of her step-son, the queen resided at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso.

Built in an enclave of the town of San Ildefonso in Segovia, it is some 11 miles from the town that gives its name to the municipality. It is close to the towns of Navas de Riofrío and La Losa. The palace was designed in the Italian style, echoing Elisabeth's birth in the Duchy of Parma, northern Italy. It was designed with a central square and was given three stories high, designed by architect Virgilio Rabaglio, himself Italian. Rabaglio was responsible for the exterior decoration Sexmini Pedro, making it one of the most influential Italian palaces of all time.The palace is often likened to its counterpart, the Royal Palace of Madrid, official residence of the Spanish royals.

The dowager queen had wanted her son, then King Carlo VIII of Naples to succeed the Spanish throne. However, before the works were completed, King Ferdinand VI died childless in August 1759 and was thus succeeded by King Carlo VIII, who was recognised as King Carlos III of Spain. Elisabeth was created regent till her sons arrival in Spain and subsequently resided at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, dying there in 1766 having never lived at Riofrío. Elisabeth had succeeded in placing four of her children on thrones and intended to give the property to her youngest son, Infante Luis, Count of Chinchón, however he did not use it.

Having been abbandoned, it was completed as a hunting lodge and was only used when royals hunted in the nearby forests. Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony resided there to avoid the courts disapproval of her childless marriage to King Ferdinand VII. The palace was also used by King Francisco, consort of Queen Isabel II to avoid his wife and used later still by King Alfonso XII, who resided there while mourning his beloved wife Queen Maria de las Mercedes. Points of interest within the palace include the patio addition, grand staircase, chapel along with its collection of paintings, tapestries and furniture. It is surrounded by a vast forest of 625 hectares, home to deer among other animals. Today Riofrío is the home of a museum dedicated to the history of hunting.

 

Casco Histórico y Acueducto de Segovia

In 1985 the old city of Segovia and its Aqueduct were declared World Heritage by UNESCO.

Within the environment of the old city, stand diversity of historic buildings both civil and religious, not just catholics but also Jews, like the district that served this minority, which commemorates the different cultures in the city. One of the best examples of this cultural diversity is represented by the former synagogue, now the church of Corpus, and the Jewish cemetery located in "El Pinarillo" with its interpretation center in the most important Jewish palace of the Spanish aljamas, the chief accountant Meir Melamed, son-in-law and successor of Abraham Senior, chief rabbi of the Kingdom of Castile, Melamed after converting to Christianity under the name of Fernán Núñez Coronel, was alderman of the city and occupied important positions in the kingdom. Among its monuments are:

The Aqueduct of Segovia, located in the emblematic Plaza del Azoguejo, is the staple of the city. The date of its construction, which could be carried out at the end of the 1st century or early 2nd century, and it is the roman civil engineering work most important in Spain. was applied to about 25,000 granite blocks together without any mortar, has a length of 818 meters, consists of more than 170 bows and hand highest is 29 meters, as it reaches the Azoguejo, the most visited area.


The Alcazar of Segovia, the royal palace located on top of a rock between the rivers Eresma and Clamores, is documented for the first time in 1122, although it may exist in earlier time. It was one of the favorite residences of the kings of Castile, built in the transition from Romanesque to Gothic and Mudéjar decor highlighting its ample rooms. The building is structured around two courtyards and has two towers, the Keep and John II. It was a favorite residence of Alfonso X the Wise and Henry IV, and Isabella the Catholic left him to be crowned Queen of Castile in the main square. Devastated by fire in 1862, was later rebuilt. Now houses the General Militar de Segovia archive and museum of the Royal School of Artillery, managed by the Board of the Alcazar.


The Segovia Cathedral is the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain. It is considered the masterpiece of Basque-Castilian Gothic and is known as "The Lady of Cathedrals." This is the third largest cathedral in the city, and retains the cloister of the second, located opposite the castle and destroyed during the Revolt of the Comuneros in 1520. In his works he worked Juan and Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, and other teachers of Spanish architecture. It was consecrated in 1768 and has dimensions of 105 meters long, 50 meters wide and 33 high in the nave, has 18 chapels and has three doors: El Perdón, San Frutos and San Geroteo, first bishop of the diocese.


The Walls of Segovia existed when Alfonso VI of León and Castile took the city to the Arabs, who commanded a larger coming to have a perimeter of 3 kilometers, eighty towers, five doors and several doors. It was built mainly with granite blocks, but also reused gravestones of the Roman necropolis. The wall runs along the old, and currently maintains three doors: San Cebrián, of great austerity, Santiago, of Mudéjar looking, and San Andrés, gateway to the Jewish quarter, and the breaches of Consuelo, San Juan, the Sun and Moon.

National Park of "Cumbres de la Sierra del Guadarrama"

We lived in the socio-economic influcence area of the National Park "Cumbres de la Sierra del Guadarrama" in the Segovian side of the protection zone of this National Park which aims to protect the eleven different ecosystems present in the Guadarrama mountains, including the only Iberian examples of "high Mediterranean mountain". Altogether, in the zone which might be declared National Park there are more than 1,280 different species, of which 13 are in danger of extinction, more than 1,500 native plants and 30 different types of vegetation. The species of animals in the mountains represent 45% of the total fauna of Spain and 18% of European fauna. The vegetation features the Scots Pine, the oak, the juniper, the oak and piorno and many other species. As regards fauna, there are many mammals such as deer (red, roe and fallow), wild boar, wild goats, badgers, several mustelidaes, wild cats, foxes, hares, etc.; many species of waterfowl in the reservoirs, and great raptors like the Spanish Imperial Eagle or the Eurasian Black Vulture.

 If you come to visit us and to pick up a Morning Dew Sweepers puppy, we are delighted to show you some of this interest places during your stay in Spain.