The collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor in Toro is one of the many attractions that you can visit in this town of Zamora. It is a Romanesque set of great beauty which is a must stop for art lovers. Located a few meters from the Duero River, it overlooks the fertile plain and the medieval farmhouse.
Built between the 12th and 13th centuries, this beautiful collegiate church its main source of inspiration is the cathedral of Zamora. That is the reason for its impressive dome, which joins others such as those of the Plasencia cathedral or the Salamanca cathedral.
Its main promoters were the kings of León, especially Alfonso VII, Fernando III el Santo and Sancho IV. And it is very likely that it was built on the foundations of an earlier temple.
A collegiate church of voluminous architecture
Various architects passed through the collegiate church, so that throughout its extension there are certain differences. These are marked by the use of different materials. A) Yes, the head and the north portal are built in grayish limestone and they are due to a very innovative architect for the time.
The dome, the tower and the western portico, on the other hand, are made of reddish sandstone. and were built by a more traditional architect in terms of aesthetics.
It has a Latin cross floor plan and three naves closed by means of barrel, ribbed and oven vaults. And it has a triple header with semicircular chapels. The result It is a temple with large volumes.
Also, their covers are impressive, especially the cover of the Majesty. It is an authentic jewel of the 13th century Romanesque. Although, due to the length of its construction, it was finished in the Gothic style.
The cover has two interesting iconographic programs devised by the Franciscan Juan Gil de Zamora. One is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the exaltation of the church. The other focuses on the Last Judgment and has Christ the Judge surrounded by angels, Saint John and the Virgin.
Interior of the collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor
Inside you can also see the difference between the architects who worked on the collegiate church, as the pillars are different. The highlight is the main chapel. In it you can find the tombs of the Fonseca family, carved in 1500 in the Flamboyant-Gothic style and in which the theological virtues and the representation of various saints can be seen.
In the center of the chapel there is a golden altarpiece made by Simón Gabilán Tomé, in the center of which is a carving by Manuel de Lara Churriguera that represents the Virgin. And you cannot miss either the altarpiece of the Santos Juanes with panels by Lorenzo de Ávila, or the altarpiece of San Julián, which has been attributed to Luis del Castillo.
Also, in the sacristy there is a small museum with the main pictorial works and goldsmiths of the entire collegiate church. Among them, stand out The Virgin of the Fly, of Flemish origin, a calvary made of ivory and tortoiseshell of Italian origin and an alabaster relief that represents the adoration of the Magi
Also you can see the great silver processional monstrance work of Juan Gago. It is a monstrance stolen in 1890 and which, after being recovered, was exhibited in the sacristy.
The visit to the collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor
Visiting the collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor de Toro is a marvel. It has several schedules that vary depending on the time of year in which we find ourselves.. Thus, in summer you can visit this incredible monument from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. And in winter the hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 14 and 16:30 to 18:30.
The entrance has many variants, because you can visit only the collegiate church or the collegiate church and monuments of the city of Toro such as the Holy Sepulcher or the churches of San Lorenzo el Real, San Salvador de los Caballeros or San Sebastián de los Caballeros. You will be able to make a complete route through all these religious buildings to get an idea of the patrimonial importance of Toro.