Blanca is in the verdant heart of the Ricote Valley
Blanca is one of the smaller municipalities of the forty-five in the Region of Murcia, and lies in the Ricote valley just over thirty kilometres to the north-west of the regional capital. Covering an area of only 87 square kilometres, it is home to approximately 6,500 people, who enjoy this picturesque location on the banks of the River Segura.
The landscape here is dominated by the green valley of the river and the mountains which flank it on either side as it winds its way south towards Murcia, and as well as those who live here this scenery also attracts visitors from the rest of the Region who enjoy spending a day out in the countryside. A large number of canoeists and other mountain sports enthusiasts come regularly to Blanca and the rest of the Ricote valley, and the area is highly recommended for those wishing to explore inland Murcia on a day out from the beaches of the Costa Cálida.
Little is known about the history of the municipality before the arrival of the Moors in 713, and in fact were it not for the remnants of the 12th century castle on the mountain behind the town not much visible evidence would remain from the five centuries of Moorish rule. The Moors remained in Blanca and most of the rest of the Ricote valley until they were finally expelled by Felipe III in 1613, and were responsible for the development of an agricultural economy which relied not only on fruit trees but also on esparto grass and wood. Nowadays, while the fruit trees remain, they have been supplemented by new crops which it has been possible to cultivate since the water supply was guaranteed by the opening of the Tajo-Segura canal in 1979.
Easily accessed from the city of Murcia via the A-30 motorway, Blanca has for decades been a popular day out for visitors from the regional capital, and they follow in the footsteps of the noble families who built some of the largest houses in the town as rural retreats in the 19th century. These include the Casa del Conde in the centre and the Casa La Favorita just to the south-west.
One of the most famous sons of Blanca is artist Pedro Cano, who has gained international recognition since his first exhibition in Murcia in 1972. The town now boasts a large cultural museum housing the Fundación Pedro Cano, the street in which the Town Hall lies is named after Anguillara Sabazzia, the town in Italy where Cano went to live when he got married, and nowadays the artistic and cultural life of Blanca is one of the main attractions for visitors. The town also has the Ermita de San Roque, Iglesia parroquial de San Juan Evangelista, a ruined castle, a sculptural walk and of course, its reservoir de Ojós and mirador, providing fabulous views out over the town.
The town is well known for its fiestas, in particular the bull runs ( encierros) which take place in August each year and the Romería in honour of the patron of the town, San Roque.
Blanca is part of the Comarca of the Vega Alta del Segura and is fairly central within the region, bordered by the municipalities of Abarán, Ulea, Ojós, Molina de Segura, Fortuna and Ricote and is about a 45 minute run from the regional airport of San Javier and about an hour from Alicante airport.
Where is Blanca?
Click for map, Blanca