Bull Ring, Plaza des Toros
Plaza de Toros, Spain’s oldest bull ring and the start of all that bloodshed.
Ronda’s main claim to fame is that bullfighting originated in the city. In the 16th century the Spanish aristocracy learnt to ride in Ronda’s famous equestrian school, the Real Maestranza de Ronda and part of the training involved being chased around a ring by half a ton of angry beef.
On one occasion something went wrong (surprised? ) and a Spanish nobleman found himself on the dirt looking at a pair of rapidly approaching high-speed horns. A local lad, Francisco Romero, jumped into the ring and distracted the bull by waving his hat.
And so Spain’s bloodiest tradition was born, though the gay costumes (incredibly hot and heavy), red cape and balletic manoeuvres were an invention of Francisco’s grandson Pedro.
The Plaza de Toros’ famously large (66m diameter) and consequently dangerous plaza, seats only a modest 5, 000 spectators, but in great, over-arching style.
The most spectacular events are in early September at Ronda’s Corridas Goyescas, honouring Pedro Romero with many participants and locals wearing elaborate 19thC outfits.
Just about every half-assed tourist destination in Andalusia has a bull-ring and attendant museum but most authorities consider Ronda’s Museo Taurino to be the best.
Rent an audio guide and take a fascinating self-guided tour of not only the extravagant and detailed museum but wander the ring, bull-pens, horse-pens etc and learn stuff to amaze your friends. The bugcrew are not museum fanatics but this one is special and well worth a few euros.