The Real Maestranza was founded in 1572. Bull-fighting is controversial these days, but putting that to one side, the Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Ronda is a beautiful building. It is said to be the first purpose-built space for fighting bulls in the world, with the first fight taking place there in 1785. Today, it is maintained as a series of heritage buildings with museums on the history of bull-fighting, a display of antique fire-arms and the harness and livery collection of the Royal House of Orleans, which is stunning in its own right. The pens may not house bulls now, but the equestrian school and stables continue in use. The most recent addition to the museum is a lively painting by Goya “Lance de capa en un encierro”.
Set in the hill-top town of Ronda in southern Spain, the bull-ring is a simple but beautiful classical building, said to be designed by the architect Martin de Aldehuela, It is designed as three concentric rings to create a circular shape, with the outer and middle walls constructed from stone with mud and lime mortar, given a yellow hue which compliments the sand in the bull-ring.. The inner ring consists of a complete circle of Tuscan arches making up an arcade, with a diameter of 64.45m. Behind this rises the tiered seating, with special areas for the Royal box and for the nobility. Much of the detail is simple, almost rustic in its quality but that, set against the elegance of the Tuscan arcade and the beauty of its proportions, adds to its charm.
In 1994, Madonna filmed her music video “Take a Bow” in the arena with the Spanish bullfighter Emilion Munoz who played her Latin lover who leaves her after spending a passionate night together.