Basilica de San Francisco, Madrid

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  • Street sign outside the basilica.
    Street sign outside the basilica.
    by IreneMcKay
  • The Basilica of St Francis.
    The Basilica of St Francis.
    by IreneMcKay
  • Underneath the basilica's dome
    Underneath the basilica's dome
    by Jefie
  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Basilica de San Francisco el Grande

    by Jefie Updated May 11, 2008

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    In 1217, St. Francis of Assisi is said to have founded a convent on the very site where the Basilica de San Francisco el Grande now sits. The basilica was built under King Carlos III in 1760, and one its most remarkable features is its gigantic dome: with a diameter of 33 m, it is bigger than the one of Les Invalides in Paris, and bigger than the one of St. Paul's Cathedral in London! There are six chapels located around the church, each with its own smaller dome and frescos, one of which was painted by Goya in 1781 (and he actually painted himself in the middle of a biblical scene!). You can visit the basilica on your own, but it's actually more interesting to follow the guide around: on top of talking about the basilica's architecture, history and art, our guide also pointed out some of the building's amusing and quirky details. One of my favorite churches in Madrid!

    Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Saturday: 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. Admission: 3 Euros.

    Underneath the basilica's dome Goya's painting (he's the one on the far right)
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    The Basilica of Saint Francis

    by IreneMcKay Written Jan 1, 2012

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    The Basilica of Saint Francis is just a couple of minutes walk away from the cathedral across the viaduct bridge. Work on this beautiful church started in 1760 and was finalised by Francesco Sabatini in 1784. The building was restored in 1880. The church is situated on the site of a Franciscan convent which is supposed to have been founded by Saint Francis of Assisi himself in 1217. Entry is 3 Euros. There are views from outside the church.

    The Basilica of St Francis. Street sign outside the basilica.
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    • Photography
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Basílica de San Francisco el Grande

    by keeweechic Written Sep 22, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Basilica de San Francisco el Grande was built in a neoclassical style by King Carlos III in 1760 on the site of an old Franciscan convent. The Basilica is made up of 3 chapels and features a large dome which is thought to be the third largest in Christian architecture. Inside the dome are beautifully painted murals sectioned into eight. Stunning paintings throughout the chapels include Goya’s “Pradera de San Isidro” as well as works by Alonso Cano and Zurbaran.

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    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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  • adema29's Profile Photo

    San Francisco el Grande-don't miss it

    by adema29 Updated Apr 15, 2013

    I don't know what I shall say about this architectural gem to hold your focus for few moments and share with you few of my impressions from Madrid.
    Probably that I am surprised to see it ignored by the tourists- more impressed by the burning life around the Plaza del Sol than the architecture and art, religion or history.
    The time table is probably one of the reasons why is not so well known as other (less interesting churches in the city), or the entrance fee which is 3 euro only, not enough to scary even the tourists with low budgets from my point of view. I have tried twice to visit it and I’ve found it open only by chance, after 16:00, on Tuesday (closed on Monday).
    Nothing from the sober facade (I consider it as a mannerist one rather than neo-classical as everybody consider it) is announcing the impressive neo-classic (sic!) interior decorations.
    The “mannered” way of using the classical Doric and Ionic orders, the perfect balanced size and the symmetry of the façade is only a tricky preparation for entering the building.
    Entering the church the common/normal peoples' reaction is “wowww!”.
    Even our son did this and he didn’t get bored even if I have used more time for this church than for the others I have visited.
    The service of a guide seemed very interesting and funny too, but only for the Spanish or Italian visitors… unfortunately.
    Probably as compensation he let us play around with the camera, stupidly settled (most probably by me) on a low resolution photos… sorry for this. And, as this was not bad enough I have used, completely un-inspired the “watercolour” effect too : )
    Anyway, we were allowed to go to the sacristy, without being followed by bored persons starring to us as they use to do in the museums and this was giving us enough freedom for speaking about the interesting paintings with the life of St. Francis of Assisi covering the walls in the cloister.
    The third dome in the Christianity as it is known with its 33 m in diameter, this one is equally impressive as its “competitors” on the Pantheon and St. Peter Cathedral in Rome.
    The detailed carvings of the Corinthian pilasters or the arches, together with the paintings and the twelve statues of the Apostles carved in Carrara marble in Italy, plus the beautiful carvings at the entrance in walnut wood are making the church special.
    So ...don’t miss it !

    San Francisco el Grande-Madrid-front view San Francisco el Grande-Madrid-door San Francisco el Grande-Madrid San Francisco-Goya's St. Bernandine of Siena San Francisco predicando a las aves
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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    Basilica de San Francisco (de Asis)

    by BeChar Written Apr 1, 2007

    The legend says that San Francisco arrived in Madrid in 1217 and built a small dwelling. Later a convent was erected, demolished and reconstructed in 1761. The current basilica is from a renovation at the end of the XIXth century.

    The interest of the basilica is inside, but unfortunately taking pictures was not allowed. Seven chapels contain pictorial and sculptural works, the most famous of which is The predicacion de San Bernadino al rey, painted in 1871 by Francisco de Goya. A tour of about 40 minutes of explanation revealed us the richness of these artworks.

    Tues-Sat 11am-1pm and 4-6:30pm

    Basilica San Francisco Basilica San Francisco

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