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Fifth week: from San Sebastian to Matapozuelos









San Sebastián






 Miranda de Ebro 




 Miranda de Ebro 




















Universidad de Salamanca



As we wander, no city or village is unable to recall our past through its familiarity or contrast.

Partiti da San Sebastián ci dirigiamo a Mondragon, poco distante da qui, a Oñate, sorgeva l’università  dello Santo Spirito di cui ci rimane un cortile dagli ampi loggiati e la sfarzosa facciata in stile plateresco.

Leaving San Sebastian, we head towards Mondragon before travelling further towards the University of the Holy Spirit located in the Basque town of Oñati. Here, the façade of university buildings features Spanish Plateresco architectural design along with large open spaces and courtyards.

Skimming the Reservoir of Ullíbarri-Gamboa we arrive at the old Cathedral of Santa Maria de Victoria-Gasteiz (UNESCO) where the darkness of its vestibules cast fragments of the underworld and scene depicting the life of the blessed and crowned Virgin Mary.

We arrive in Burgos on the third day, where the pyramidal spires of its Gothic Cathedral cattedrale (UNESCO) dominate the city. Construction of this mighty Gothic splendour began in 1221 and continued for generations. In 1280, when Bishop Gonzalo Pérez Gudiel. held the rectorate in Padua, the domed chapels of the cathedral were completed. A native Mozarab of the Iberian Christians, the ancestors of Gonzalo, known as Banū Ḥārith continued to hold public positions under Christian rule. Bishop Gonzalo studied Arabic and Latin during his formative years in Toledo and later became a Magister in Arts from Paris in 1259, at a time when Tomas Aquinas and Bonaventure da Bagnoregio had taught there. He moved to Padua in 1230 and became Rector of, what was then, a centre for legal studies. Although a man of great importance and skill, Gonzalo formed, a rich library procured with some level of dishonesty.  And later called to Rome in 1298, when Boniface VIII appointed him to the cardinal-bishopric of Albano.

On the fifth day, we visit the city of Palencia and the home to the ancient and renowned university with a short-lived history. On the sixth day, we arrive in Valladolid where we admire the facade and the Renaissance courtyard of the College of Santa Cruz.

Finally, we arrive in Salamanca (UNESCO), where we encounter the fourth in the series of ancient universities visited during our journey. As you walk past the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque structures that line the squares and streets, the city of Salamanca transports you back in time. The Hospital, erected in 1413, features a smooth yet immense façade  The Escuelas Mayores structures built between 1415 and 1433, are adorned with the now familiar and tourist gazing Plateresco design. The Escuelas Menores, constructed in 1428 include a courtyard stretched across various arches.

Followed by the many colleges, including that of San Bartolomeo, an image of San Clemente of Bologna commissioned by Cardinal Albornoz, and the Renaissance of the Irish and the Baroque Calatrava colleges.

detail on the facade of the University of Salamanca

King Alfonso IX of León founded the scholas Salamanticae, the origin of the current University of Salamanca in 1218.  Alfonso X of Castile, also known as Alfonso the Wise, established statutes and financial endowments in 1254, while Pope Alexander IV recognized the school as Studium Generale the following year.

Like other ancient universities, Salamanca had no buildings of its own during its first few hundred years of operation. Rather, holding lessons in houses rented at the expense of the municipality and in churches, most notably in the Church of San Benito. In 1411, Cardinal Pedro de Luna worked to purchase land and construct the historic Escuelas Mayores buildings that are covered in an ornate Spanish architecture called Plateresco and a library collection of 2,774 manuscripts, 483 books printed using metal type (incunabula) and more than 60,000 printed volumes published between the 16th and 18th centuries.

In the early 16th century, Escuelas Menores buildings housed the works associated with the Sky of Salamanca by the Castilian painter Fernando Gallego, which features astronomical knowledge, divided like an astrolabe and depicting constellations and planets

The peak of the university’s growth occurred in the 16th century with the development of the philosophical school of Salamanca.  This led to the recognition, among other things, of religious freedom and the right to private property of American Indians. Salamanca is associated with ruling the feasibility of Christopher Columbus’ plan to reach the East Indies.

Among the illustrious scholars who studied or taught in Salamanca, including the writer and poet Torres Villarroel, the astronomer Abraham Zacut whose works played an important role in Spain’s ability to navigate between continents, and Francisco de Vitoria who is considered one of the founders of international law.

As the oldest university in Spain and one of the six oldest universities in Europe, the University of Salamanca hosts over 30,000 students from across the globe and houses 26 faculties and 12 research centres dedicated to bioscience, neuroscience and humanities.

The team of the week

While biking, I am not interested in speed and performance, I rather savor the exploration of territories, and a unique freedom. Indeed, the freedom to explore and the thrill of discovery prompted me to choose my job: I’m a researcher. I therefore enthusiastically took the opportunity to participate in this adventure that give me the chance to ride on new  roads, and to represent the University of Padua and its founding value:  freedom of research.
Massimo Bellanda

Massimo Bellanda

I have always been cycling! I inherited this passion from my dad. Biking gives me a great sense of freedom, makes me move at the right speed in order to notice the things that surround me, and also makes me respect the planet. The Scholares Vagantes initiative is a dream come true to me! A brilliant and courageous initiative, which promotes collaboration between European universities also through sustainable mobility. I am happy to be part of it and I hope this adventure will soon be contagious!
Barbara Mantelli

Barbara Mantelli

I am a U23 competitive cyclist, I love traveling and cycling: what better opportunity to visit new places and celebrate my University at the same time?
Giacomo Pegoraro

Giacomo Pegoraro

I’m an employee at the Department of Statistics and I took the opportunity to participate in this itinerant initiative, which involves some prestigious European universities. After two years of pandemic, in which I had to stop, I did not want to miss this opportunity to resume one of my passions and take a cycling holiday, with the motto of “Traveling is living!”. Even if I’m not one of the athletes, but a supporting person, I lik the idea of ​​being able to celebrate the 800th anniversary of our University in an unusual form.
Pierfrancesco Gratteri

Pierfrancesco Gratteri

On Sunday, May 22, the handover ceremony of the Scholares Vagantes was held at the rectorate of the Universidad de Salamanca in the presence of Efrem Yildiz Sadak, Vice Rector for International Relations of Salamanca, and the Unipd Vice Rector for Education Marco Ferrante.

Main sponsor


Technical Sponsor

De Marchi Rudy project Elastic interface