Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Spaghetti Western Location ~ Monastero di San Pedro de Arlanza

Located in the Rio Arlanza valley, on the road from the village of Hortiguela to the town of Covarrubias (to the south), this monastery was one of the most important in Castile. It was founded in 912 by Gonzalo Fernandez, father of Fernan Gonzales, first count of Castile. The primitive Romanesque construction, which began in 1080, was enlarged in the following centuries. This grand complex was abandoned in the nineteenth century, due to the policy of alienating ecclesiastical goods. In 1966, given that some important sequences of the film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” - those of the Langstone bridge - which were shot in the valley of the Rio Arlanza, the monastery, which is located one kilometer south of the place where the bridge was built and chosen as a set to represent the interior of the mission of San Antonio in New Mexico (while as regards the exterior of the mission the Cortijo del Fraile was used in the countryside of Nijar in Almeria - Verdi Cortijo del Fraile).

The filming by Sergio Leone in the monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza, which at that time showed signs of the long state of ruin (currently and under restoration) are carried out in a large rectangular room (where the wounded soldiers of which the Franciscan friars are taking care of), in a narrow corridor and in a room representing the cell of a friar in which Blonde (Clint Eastwood) is recovering, from serious burns after crossing the desert (this part of the film is shot in the sand dunes of Cabo De Gata, on the Almeria coast.

From the window of this room of the monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza you can see some crosses on the surrounding landscape, with trees and the shape of a stone building on a hill: it is the ancient church of San Pelayo, located a few hundred meters from the monastery on the road leading to Covarrubias, built on a rocky outcrop in a strategic and panoramic position on the narrow and wooded valley of the Rio Arlanza. Also the sequence of the meeting of Tuco (Eli Wallach) with his brother, father Pablo Ramirez (Luigi Pistilli), and shot in an adjoining room in the monastery of San Pedro di Arlanza.

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

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