4 Years ago the Corrida Goyesca (Bullfight) and the Royal Maestranza celebrated the 225th anniversary of the construction of Ronda´s magnificent Plaza de Toros . The bullring is said to be the oldest bullrings in Spain and designed by José Martín de Aldehuela the Spanish architect from Aragon who also designed the impressive Puente Nuevo Bridge which spans the spectacular El Tajo gorge.
The Goyesca Ladies are the official representatives and welcoming party for visiting guests. Every year fourteen Rondeñas (Ronda ladies) and one president are chosen and given the honour to represent Ronda in this important event. The gowns worn by the ladies are quite stunning and said to be similar to those from the period depicted in the paintings of Francisco de Goya’s bullfighting and pageantry from the late 18th century. The styles of the gowns have evolved over time and are now more intricate. The dresses worn by the Ladies are very costly and everything is made to measure to suit the wearer with matching accessories, shoes and shawls. The Goyescas have more than one gown as their duties include attending formal events and official presentations and more informal duties such as visiting rest homes for the elderly. It is a great honour to be chosen as a Goyesca Lady and the ladies concerned take their duties very seriously and are a credit to the city.
The full programme of events which lead up to the Goyesca can be obtained from the Tourist Office opposite the Bullring and at the Casa de Cultura near the Merced Church.
The Pedro Romero Feria was originally founded by Cayetano Ordóñez, born in 1904 in Ronda. His parents owned a shoe shop called La Palma and this became his nickname (Niño de la Palmas). He made his debut in the Ronda Bullring in 1923, where he became the first bullfighter to be carried in triumph through the main gates of the Maestranza. The Goyesca Feria was sealed into Ronda tradition by his son Antonio Ordoñez (1932-1998) known as ‘el maestro’. Ordoñez was a close friend of Hollywood movie star Orson Welles whose ashes were buried on Ordóñez’s estate after Welles’ death. Cayetano Ordóñez was used by US writer Ernest Hemingway as the model for “Pedro Romero”, the talented young bullfighter in ’The Sun Also Rises’. Pedro Romero who hailed from another famous Ronda bullfighting family was the first bullfighter to view his job as an art form rather than just a display of courage (and certainty not a sport!!).
The corrida (bullfight) is customarily held the first week of September on 3rd, 4th and 5th day of the Feria. The most important matadors take part in the Corrida. The Goyesca Feria is considered to be one of the primer events in Ronda and Andalucia and one of the most important exhibitions of bullfighting in Spain.
For those who do not wish to see the bullfights, the Horse and Carriage competition (Las Enganches) held on a Sunday is a must. The Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda and the Real Club de Enganches de Andalucía hold a competition to pick the best horse and carriage from several different categories. This is a superb exhibition of carriage driving skills with drivers and guests attired in period costumes and magnificent horses groomed to perfection with gleaming harnesses and pulling equally gleaming carriages. The Dames Goyesca grace the ring riding in carriages owned by local aficionados and you will have a further opportunity to admire them. The Horse and Carriage competition takes place in the bullring and starts at 12 noon and the parade of carriages commences at 10.30am in the Calle Virgen de La Paz.
A pity that most of the events take place around midnight, logical for the locals but difficult for those B&B owners that need to be up to make breakfast again the next morning. Bucket list.