Palacio Real

Royal Palace of Madrid

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General information

  From the entrance in front of the cathedral you can get into a vast courtyard, at the end of which a large staircase leads to the royal chambers. The palace was built of white stone and granite brought from the Sierra de Guadarrama, the interiors are decorated with beautiful marble. From the Hall of the Alberdiers (Royal Guards), where the plafond was painted by Giovanni Batista Tiepolo (1696-1770), we pass into the luxurious Column Hall. Its walls are decorated with 17th century Flemish tapestries and statues representing the planets. Here in 1975 Franco's body was exhibited for farewell, and in 1985 it was exhibited the official ceremony of Spain's accession to the EU took place. Visit the splendid Throne Room, where on the ceiling painted by Tiepolo is the “Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy”, and under it there are Neapolitan furniture, Venetian candelabra, mirrors, clocks from San Ildefonso de la Granja and bronze lions by Benicelli.

    Next are the Royal Apartments: the reception room, dining room, dressing room and bedroom, filled with precious knick-knacks and furniture, mostly French. Among the paintings are portraits of Charles IV and his wife Maria Louise by Goya. In the Dining Room, look out for the marvelous clock in marble, bronze and mahogany, with a dial studded with diamonds. The Dressing Room was designed by the Italian decorator Gasparini in the Rococo style. An abundance of silk, gold and silver in the upholstery of the walls, a mosaic marble floor with a whirlpool of floral ornaments, and fancy ceiling moldings served as a decoration for the ceremony of daily dressing of the sovereign in front of the courtiers. The bedroom has now been converted into a living room and is furnished with white and gold Empire-style furniture, the painting of the plafond, made by Viacente López, contains reminders of the orders instituted by Charles III.

    This is followed by a series of unique spaces, starting with the small Porcelain Room. Its walls are covered with porcelain panels, made at the Buen Retiro factory, founded by Charles III, and decorated with images of grapes and flower garlands. The next door leads to the Yellow Room with wonderful tapestries. Here the ladies were treated to chocolate, while their gentlemen in the Porcelain Room smoked their pipes.

    Further - the magnificent Ballroom, for which in 1879, under Alfonso XII, three small rooms were united. They were intended for the wife of Charles III, but after her early death, by order of the king, they stood closed for more than 100 years. Now it is a banquet hall for 150 people. On the ceiling of the hall is the image of Christopher Columbus announcing the discovery of the New World to Fernando and Isabella. Huge Chinese and French vases line the walls, covered with 16th-century Flemish tapestries.

    The Musical Salon displays a unique collection of stringed instruments by Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737). Note the mother-of-pearl guitar from 1796. The Royal Chapel (Capilla Real) follows the Silver Room with its silver collection. The huge marble columns with gilding are made in the neoclassical style by the master Ventura Rodriguez. The last four small rooms belonged to Maria Louise: a porcelain smoking room, a Chinese salon, and a cozy study with marble inlay and painted silk panels on the ceiling.

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