Villena is a largish town with a population of around 34,000 found inland from Alicante on the A31 Road near the city of Elda.
Villena is dominated by the extremely impressive Castillo de la Atalya that overlooks the town with it’s 12 watch towers and huge outerwall. The castle was built by the Moors in the 11th Century but is has been a settlement for considerably longer. Evidence of this was discovered in the 1960s when some 60 Bronxe Age items were accidently discovered in a river bed including bottles, bowls and jewellery. Incredibly further items were such as arrowheads and tools were also discovered in the area that have been dated as far back as 5000BC. Some of these can be viewed at the Museo Archeological in the main plaza, housed in the Palacio Municipal. You will also find the ornate Iglesia de Santiago in the plaza which is well worth a visit.
These days, like many of the surrounding town Villena’s main industry is the manufacturing of footwear, although it’s also known for the production of pottery and furniture. The region is also a major wine producer, with grape cultivation also playing an important role in supporting the local economy.