The tour that we propose below is a return to the look of that Oviedo that Leopoldo Alas Clarín portrayed. He met him almost in the same way that he is presented to us today, and it served him as the inevitable setting for his famous novel La Regent.
Well, we are approaching the vicinity of the cathedral down González Abascal street. On our left it opens the Porlier Square, reformed not many years ago. Currently the point of attention is focused on the sculpture of a traveler loaded with suitcases in an attitude of rest. We talk about "The return of Willians B. Arrensberg», suggestive title for a stone man created by the artist Úrculo in 1993. It seems that he has just arrived in Vetusta, possibly like us, and stops for a while in front of the Camposagrado palace, dated in the XNUMXth century. To our right, closing the square, it rises the palace of the Count of Toreno, from the 17th century, birthplace of the illustrious deputy of the Cortes of Cádiz, and no less illustrious historian, José Mª Queipo de Llano. This building is currently the seat of the Royal Institute of Asturian Studies, concerned with the study and dissemination of ethnography, culture and Asturian literature.
Right in the vicinity, as an extension of González Abascal street, is San Francisco Street, where we find the historic building of the University of Oviedo -It was maintained as a teaching space until the 80s and currently houses some of the services of the university such as the Rectorate or the General Secretariat- and also one of the most famous places in the whole city for its delicious «Muscovites»: the Rialto Confectionery.
The Plaza of the Cathedral of Oviedo
We arrived to the Cathedral Square presided over by the monumental tower of its basilica and a wide open space in which formerly there were houses with beautiful arcades. The famous “les madreñes” market was held there, constituting one of the social epicenters of old Oviedo. From this place we see the Palace of the Valdecárzana Heredia, from the 1931th century. A mythical building for Oviedo society and for fictional fiction, since the famous Casino de la Regenta was located there until XNUMX. Cathedral and Casino, an indissoluble couple in the novel that today finds one more hallmark: the sculpted figure of Ana Ozores, la Regenta. Like a passer-by but with a sculptural nature, with imaginary and also realistic origins.
Of the complex network of pedestrian alleys that come our way we will initially take Cimadevilla street, which together with Rúa and Calle Magdalena constituted the vital artery of Oviedo society. Commercial establishments, cafes for gatherings, bazaars, etc. To our left, with a slight downward slope, we pass a narrow street that leads to Trascorrales Square.
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The Town Hall Square
Now we resume our previous route for a moment, we return to Cimadevilla street, and at the bottom is the arch that we must cross. Actually it is the most important gate of the old medieval wall. Above it stands the tower with the Town Hall clock, and opens the way to the Plaza de la Constitución, surrounded by architectural jewels, at the same time humble, that give an extra beauty to the whole. In the square you can also find The Church of San Isidoro el Real, from the 17th century and with a personal touch.
The Plaza del Fontán
We leave it to our right and we take Magdalena Street El Fontán, emblematic square of the Old Oviedo that has been completely rebuilt with more modern architectural premises. The reconstruction was controversial and we are not going to judge it here. Come closer and draw your own conclusions. If they are made with a photo of the old square they will already have both parts of the trial. El Fontán and its annexed plaza, the Daoiz and Velarde Square constitute a meeting point of the city and one of the places chosen to have some tapas, go for a walk around the flea market or the flower market. In Daoiz y Velarde is the Neoclassical House of Comedies, which currently houses the Pérez de Ayala Public Library, very well supplied and very frequented by citizens. Next to this cultural center, one of the largest existing palaces in the city, the Palacio del Duque del Parque, in Baroque style, stands out for its construction.
The Plaza de Riego
Remember that we had descended the Magdalena street, and possibly now we are going around the Plaza del Fontán. Fierro Street then appears, through which we must climb. We arrived again at the Plaza de la Constitución and this time we left the Church on our left, on the way to another street that goes down, El Peso street. It leads us irremediably to our end of the journey through the old town of Oviedo, leaving us in one of its most illustrious limits: the Plaza del Riego, what It takes its name from the Asturian Liberal General who with his revolt forced the liberal triennium (1820-1823) against the absolutism of Fernando VII. A small square that is a place for chatting and meeting in the afternoons and nights of the good weather months, especially in the popular San Mateo festivities, when it is full of music and beach bars.