Friday, 26 January 2024, 19:22
The first owners of El Ventorrillo de la Perra were Sisebuto Palmero, better known as 'Tío Cachorreña', his wife Inés 'La Malagueña', also known as 'Rosa de Andalucía' and their dog Picarona, an agile and astute greyhound bitch that was famous for its rabbit-catching skills. This inn, once in the middle of nowhere between Benalmádena and Torremolinos, was an obligatory stopping point for travellers on the road from Gibraltar to Malaga.
The inn opened its doors in 1782, even before Italian businessman Félix Solesio bought the estate that is now Arroyo de la Miel, and there was no town there then. Sisebuto named the inn in honour of his dog, which had been a gift from a gentleman from Jerez.
The inn is known as being a place of "merriment, chatter and revelry, a party place, where mule drivers, goatherds, tobacco smugglers and all types of wanderers stopped, as it was on the road, and they also offered camp beds to spend the night".
This description was found in documents researched by Rafael Gamero, a Benalmádena man who has been studying the history of the town for years. Gamero has had access to research carried out by one of the most recent owners of the Ventorrillo de la Perra, Sebastián Souvirón, who was a cultural adviser at Benalmádena town hall when Enrique Bolín was mayor the first time and who was also an academic at the San Telmo fine art school.
The inn founded by Sisebuto and Inés was open until around 15 years ago, making it then the oldest in Malaga province, according to Gamero, who talks about those early years when it was a place where smugglers could sell their wares (mainly tobacco), while others sold honey, cheese and traditional products from household pig slaughters. Salt balls were also sold for the animals (they gave cows them to lick so they would drink more water and produce more milk), leather harnesses, esparto, sacks, oil lamps or homemade remedies. Among other things, ointment for piles.
However the largest amounts of money were raised with the sale of packs of playing cards that Solesio was producing at a factory in Macharaviaya at the time.
"At El Ventorrillo de la Perra homemade food was served. Sisebuto prepared 'sopa quitafollones', which revived the dead, and which can still be eaten in some restaurants in Arroyo de la Miel today. There was also chorizo, fatty bacon and freshly made bread, as well as pork loin," explained Gamero. The historian also said that unlike some of the inns open at the same time in the Montes de Málaga, this was not a dangerous place; people weren't robbed there.
Since it closed 15 years ago the building has gradually lost its shine and is now in a state of neglect. Located in what today is the Avenida de la Constitución in Arroyo de la Miel, it has been up for sale for years. Now finally it has a new owner: Benalmádena town hall.
The local authority announced recently that the land and the building are now municipal property after an agreement was reached with the owner to take over the property in exchange for a plot of land in Los Peñones.
The town hall has not yet said what it will do with the old inn, although it has promised to use it to promote local history.