Santa Maria de Piasca, near to Potes in the Picos de Europa

There seemed to be many churches, monasteries, and hermitages in the area around Potes and we had time to visit three.

Santa Maria Real de Piasca was a Monastery founded in the 8C-9C and by the 11C was apparently equal in importance to Santa Toribio, with many possessions. Today all that remains is the church, halfway up a mountainside, and absolutely gorgeous, and the foundations of its cloister. The remarkable fact about this ‘monastery’ was that it was mixed – it included both monks and nuns – but eventually the monks took over – nothing new here! The current church dates from the 12C. 

The view from the Church

The view from the Church

The entrance to Santa Maria de Piasca

The entrance to Santa Maria de Piasca

Santa Maria de Piasca from the remains of the Cloister

Santa Maria de Piasca from the remains of the Cloister

The main doorway is extraordinarily ornate and I could have spent a long time looking at the carvings.

The main doorway of Santa Maria de Piasca

The main doorway of Santa Maria de Piasca

The main doorway of Santa Maria de Piasca

The main doorway of Santa Maria de Piasca

The triumvirate above the main doorway

The main doorway

Musicians over the main doorway

The side door, slightly hidden away, is also ornate, with carvings of fantastical birds, strange figures, and a boar hunt.

The side door of Santa Maria de Piasca

Birds on the side door of Santa Maria de Piasca

Birds on the side door of Santa Maria de Piasca

A fantastical figure and phoenix? on the side door of Santa Maria de Piasca

A fantastical figure and phoenix? on the side door of Santa Maria de Piasca

A boar hunt?

A boar hunt?

There are more carvings on the frieze at the top of the walls, underneath the roof, and around the windows

Carvings at Santa Maria de Piasca

Carvings at Santa Maria de Piasca

Carvings at Santa Maria de Piasca

Carvings at Santa Maria de Piasca

The flowers at the entrance to the buildings were just lovely – dahlias, hostas, geraniums, lavatera, impatiens, and large bunches of grapes.

The flowers at the entrance to Santa Maria de Piasca

The flowers at the entrance to Santa Maria de Piasca

Geraniums

Grapes!

This is a magical spot – well worth visiting. On both occasions we went there we were alone…