These replicated paintings are wonderfully shown in an underground cave setting for realism. The museum has a plethora of religious art from many years of collecting the best art available from monasteries and churches.
Also, be sure to find La Dama de Elche, the sculptured head of an affluent 5th-century BC Iberian woman.
For those who are studying old styles of clothing, her headgear appears to be a precursor of the mantilla which is a traditional women's scarf in Mexico and Spain.
The palace is both beautiful and majestic and imposingly large as measured by it’s 875 windows and 45 sets of stairs. It is rumored that in one or two of the rooms you could fit two tennis courts.
If you wish to visit the inside rooms of the Palace, it is recommended that you extend your visit to a couple of days. It will take that long to fully absorb the full beauty of the Palace.
The inside walls of the Palace are spectacular with their adornment of beautifully intricate tapestries, handsome frescoes and silver lined red velvet.
As you would expect there is a plethora of dazzling art displayed around the castle. This includes the work of Goya, Gasparini, Tiepolo, Caravaggio and Mengs. The Palace has become a first class museum as it is the repository for an armory of old weapons of warfare including some from the 13th century.
Don’t expect to bump into the Royal Family during your tour as they do not use the Palace anymore. You may, however, see a few government officials as some of the rooms are still used for special events and ceremonies. The outside of the Palace, both the building and the ground are immaculate. The building itself is a masterpiece of architecture and the grounds are well sprinkled with colorful gardens.
More so than the USA, Europe has a strong tradition of having a central plaza where citizens gather for just about every event of their life. Madrid is no exception. The Plaza Mayor has been used for bull fights, public executions, soccer, games, political speeches, meeting friends and just hanging out. Let the reader decide which one speaks for today’s culture.
The Plaza is large but you can quickly understand its size by this single fact; there are 237 balcony’s facing the Plaza. There are rings of shops and restaurants scattered around it’s perimeter to complete the conclusion that it is the heart beat or the city of Madrid.
This being true, the visitor should plan to spend a couple of hours just sitting in the Plaza and sipping coffee and then he or she can truly say that they know what Spain is all about. By the way, if you follow that advice, you will undoubtedly meet many tourists from other countries. Of all the tourist attractions in Madrid, the Plaza is a tourist magnet.
The original Madrid Botanical Gardens were started by King Ferdinand VI in 1755. If he could only see what his vision has wrought. Today’s garden has three distinct segments plus two green houses. There are more than 30,00 flowers and plants plus over 1500 trees.
One section is devoted to ornamental plants including medicinal and aromatic. Section two plants are organized based on natural evolutionary relationships and the third is a varied group of shrubs and trees. There are lovely fountains scattered about these three sections. Off course the greenhouses are indispensable for getting young plants started and experimenting with various methods of planting.
There are quiet walking paths and charming places to sit amongst the many absolutely beautiful flower beds. One of the newer greenhouses has the ability to handle plants from three climates: temperate, tropical and desert. All in all the Madrid Botanical Gardens are an excellent choice to add to your vacation itinerary.
Of these, however, only about 2000 are on display at one given time due to space limitations. They have extensive collections of European art plus approximately 4500 drawings and over 700 sculptures. Their vast number of paintings really are a lesson in the history of art.
The Prado Museum is the place to visit for the serious artist. Every major artist is represented on their walls. They are the crème de la crème in the art world. Whatever your experience or your focus you will find something to learn from and take back with you to improve your skills.