Santa Maria del Naranco.

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Palacio de Santa María del Naranco

Top choice in Oviedo

On the slopes of Monte Naranco, 3.5km northwest of central Oviedo, this tall, narrow palace – built by Ramiro I (842–50), Alfonso II’s successor – is an exquisite example of Asturias’ unique pre-Romanesque architecture. It marks an advance in Asturian art: an outstanding decorative feature is the sogueado, the sculptural motif imitating rope used in its columns.

Except on Mondays, visits inside the palace are guided, in Spanish only, about every 40 minutes during opening hours. They also take in the nearby Iglesia de San Miguel de Lillo, with the last visit starting at posted closing times. There's no charge or time restrictions for admiring the two buildings from outside.

To get here, take bus A2 (€1.20), about hourly from 6.45am to 9.50pm, northwest from the Uría Sur stop opposite the northeast side of Campo de San Francisco, or from the Uría Norte stop on Calle Uría near the train station; bus A1 runs back down. By car, you have to park 300m below Santa María and walk up the lane.

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