Deep in the heart of the Extremadura desert, the little town of Trujillo is famous as the birthplace of Pizarro and other conquistadores. Far from being the cream of Spain’s military forces, the invaders of the Inca and Maya nations were often penniless Extremaduran farmers who had been suffering from years of drought. Although a few were poor gentry or at least soldiers, many had no experience of either sailing or war, and few either survived or made their fortunes. Those that did return, spent their gold prodigiously, building castles and palaces on the hill above Trujillo, with fountains and pleasure gardens. Sadly those that returned were also ignorant of the ways of wealth and investment, and after a very few years the gold ran out, and they moved out of their palaces and back down into their farms.
The result of this curious historical legacy is that the little town is architecturally much grander than it might otherwise have been. The last time that I was here, most of the palaces were still in ruins, but since then Trujillo has been visited by relative prosperity, and many of them have been restored.