We spent a toasty afternoon in Peniscola, a terrific little seaside city with a great beach and promenade. It was a hot day and the beach was covered with sunbathers and multicolored umbrellas for miles.
The beach sits at the bottom of the old town which clings to a rocky promontory that is crowned with the city’s big attraction, the Castell del Papa Luna. The castle was built in the late 13th century by the infamous Knights of Templar, but really made it’s mark as the residence/hideout for Pope Benedict XIII, i.e. Papa Luna.
Luna was named Pope during the Great Schism that split the Papacy in the 14th century, but was deposed in 1414. He lived here until he died in 1423 and complained about losing the job until the bitter end.
Because of the Castle’s position, being surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean, some have called Luna “Pope of the Sea”.
Peniscola’s fame was reinvigorated in 1961 when Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren arrived to film the epic spectacular EL Cid.
A little footnote for you film buffs. Sophia sued because her name is below Charlie’s. The suit read, “It is impossible to determine or even to estimate the extent of the damages which the plaintiff will suffer.” Maybe a whisper touchy?