Everyone knows the Andalusian tradition of the Bandoleros, bandits or Highwaymen, going back to Ancient times. The Sierra Morena and the mountain region of Ronda and Despeñaperros were the favourite haunts of these delinquents, who robbed from the rich to give to the poor.

In one of our destinations, Grazalema, there’s an annual historical recreation of the life of one of these Bandoleros, Jose María Hinojosa, who became known as “El Tempranillo”.

Born in Jauja (a village of Lucena) on the 24th of June 1805, he earned his nickname after he fled on being found guilty of a murder committed during a pilgrimage, the reason for which is unknown. At the time, José María was only 13 years of age and so became known as Tempranillo, or “Early Bird”, in recognition of his early start in a criminal career.

From then on he dedicated his time to robbing from the rich to give to the poor, hiding from justice in the Andalusian mountain ranges. He’s famous for being a swindler and a womaniser, and it’s said that he stole ladies’ rings simply by kissing them on the hand and arguing that beautiful women needed no adornment.

Amongst the outstanding events this year (the last weekend in October), starring more than 500 locals from Grazalema and Benamahoma, was an early morning blunderbuss salute, followed by a series of seminars related to the history of Grazalema, and a recreation of a Bandalero den. Meanwhile, in the afternoon there was a performance of the birth of Tempranillo’s child and the murder of his wife.

Two more events brought the weekend to a close: the reproduction of an attack on a group of cattle herders and finally, the celebration of José María’s baptism, culminating in a traditional, 1832-style meal.


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