Viana, perched up on a hill, gazes serenely towards the horizon. It no longer keeps guard; it is resting after a turbulent historical past as a defensive garrison town against Castile and the frequent residence of monarchs.
Its walls now open their gates to give way to numerous fascinating mansion houses, palaces and churches that demonstrate the magnificence of the town between the 16th and 18th centuries.
With its rich gastronomy and refined wines, the town welcomes visitors and bids farewell to the pilgrims who cross through the last town on the Navarrese section of the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago.
Viana is the last Navarrese town on the Pilgrim’s Way, on the border with La Rioja just 3.5 kilometres from Logroño. Fields of cereals, vines, almond and olive trees surround this small town of 4,000 inhabitants, distinguished by the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela and the economic and cultural boom it experienced between the 16th and 18th centuries. This era has left us some fascinating examples of civil and religious architecture.
In Viana you will find two major examples of religious art: the churches of Santa María and San Pedro. The majestic church of Santa Maríais one of the most striking monuments in the town. It was built between 1250 and 1312 in Gothic style. The tower and the southern doorway were added, in Renaissance style, in the 16th century. At the foot of the church, under the slabs of the atrium, lie the remains of the soldier, prince and cardinal Cesare Borgia, who died close to Viana in 1507.
Although the 13th-century church of San Pedro is in ruins its Baroque facade de dating from the 18th century is still in good condition, with a niche that houses the image of St. Peter, and the old cemetery, which has now been turned into a park. From here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the medieval walls and the nearby lands of La Rioja and Álava.
Other interesting religious buildings in the town and its surroundings include the convent of San Francisco and the chapels of Our Lady of Cuevas, Trinidad de Cuevas, Las Cruces, Calvario and San Martín de Tidón.