Montillana lies at the foot of the Sierra de Montillana, whose peak marks the border with the province of Jaen in the foothills of the Sierra de Alta Coloma near Noalejo. It was one of the strangest estates in Spain in 18th century. It used to belong to Don Fernando de Aranda and according to the Diccionario de Tomás López it included… “the lands that make up a league and a quarter, but not the town nor the land occupied by the people.”
It depended at the time, for both administrative and ecclesiastical issues, on the neighbouring town of Colomera. It got its own town hall during the first half of the 19th century.
Even though the town is 1000 meters above sea level, the houses are built on a wide plain. The town is dominated by the tower of the parish church, built in honour of Santa Ana.
This town used to be a farmstead called Puente de Don Gonzalo. According to the documents in the Real Chancillería de Granada, Fernando Alvarez de Sotomayor (from Noalejo in Jaen) was given the title Señor de La Montillana in the late 16th century. The same file stated that Montillana belonged to Colomera and, in 1836, the two towns, by mutual agreement, decided to separate.
From a demographic point of view, this separation gave way to a rapid rise in the local population during the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century. The area that benefited the most was the Montes Orientales, which experienced a population increase of approximately 500%. This is when new municipalities, extensions of former farmsteads, were created.
The local dishes in Montillana are very varied and include Gachas de maiz, Migas, Lomo, Embutidos en Orza and Tortas de carda. Good olive oils are also produced here as are homemade pastries. We recommend trying Migas with melon.
The first Sunday of August Montillana honours its patron with a solemn mass and a procession. Apart from parades and other cultural activities, the celebration program includes live music performances.