SAINT ANTHONY INFIRMARY

Situated in Olmos Street just behind the Parador de Turismo, we find this infirmary which was erected in the 17th century by Franciscans and which today, is a closed order convent. It was paid for by the city’s nobility to care for Cáceres’ poorest inhabitants. It featured seven rooms which were sponsored by the city’s wealthiest families who financed medical and maintenance costs until the patient was well enough to leave. Above each door appears a polychrome coat of arms set against tiles which represent the families who sponsored the room. After the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal, it was used first as a rector’s house, then in the 19th Century as a college for the Carmelites and today is a the Saint Jerónimo convent. On the front facade, we can see the royal coat of arms of Philip V, below those of Cáceres and the Franciscan Order. In front, is situated the rear of the Marqueses of Torreorgaz palace which today is the state-owned Parador. It is worth noting its tower with baluster and corner balcony dating from the 16th century. The remainder of the building dates back to the 14th century although it has underwent almost continual restoration work in the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries. In the Neo-classical entrance we can spot the coats of arms belonging to the Ulloa and Carvajal families and above the balcony, that of the Marqueses of Torreorgaz. If we return to the narrow Olmos Street, we are taken to the Golfines de Arriba Palace. The highlight here is without doubt the so-called Homage Tower, the only one which rises above the city rooftops allowed to remain by the Catholic Monarchs as a precaution in the scenario that one of the city’s noble families might rebel against the Crown. The Homage Tower’s impressive height aroused fears for the Saavedra family in the neighbouring palace and the continuing feuds between both families even forced King Ferdinand to intervene and declare that those privileged to own defensive structures could only do so on condition that there was no opening onto the neighbouring house.