This is one of the nice surprises away from the larger sights of Madrid. This was basically right down the street from my hotel, so I started exploring Madrid here.
The convent is housed in a former palace by Joanna of Austria (Juana de Austria), daughter of Carlos I (the first Habsburg King of Spain and Holy Roman emperor) and Isabel of Portugal. It recruited only from the nobility, and these powerful women brought with them rich dowries. Soon this was one of the richest convents in all of Europe.
Over time the convent accumulated one of the finest art collections of any convent/monastery in Europe. Among its most important pieces are works by Titian (a big favorite of Spanish royalty) and various Flemish painters. The collection of paintings and tapestries is exquisite.
The tour shows you the highlights of the convent, its prized pieces, of which there are many. Though a smallish museum it has some beautiful pieces that are absolutely worth seeing. At the time of my visit, tours were only offered in Spanish and the guides unfortunately had a a rather unfriendly attitude.
Is the visit worth the somewhat elevated price? I would say yes without hesitation.
Sat and Tues-Thurs 10:30am-12:30pm and 3-5:45pm; Fri 10:30am-12:30pm; Sun 11am-1:15pm
admission- 5 euros
Tours- in Spanish only
This lovely monastery, built in the XVI century is full of treasures.
Pictures are forbidden inside.
You have to join a group, you are not allowed to visit it individually. A guide, speaking Spanish and English will give explanations in every hall.
Everywhre is a wonder, probably this is the most pretty monastery in Madrid after El Escorial.
This is an active monastery, several nuns live there.
This visit was an interesting one, to say the least! This convent dates back to the 16th century, when Doña Juana, daughter of King Carlos I, decided to turn this former palace into a Franciscan monastery. For about two centuries, only the daughters of the royal family and noblemen were allowed in the convent, always bringing with them a rather valuable dowry, to the point where it became one of the richest convents in all of Europe.
In 1960, a special permission was granted by the Vatican so that the convent could open its doors to the public for only a few hours every day. Because nuns still live there, all visits are led by a tour guide and are kept to a strict 45 minutes, which unfortunately does not allow us to see all the magnificent pieces of the collection accumulated over the years by this religious community. This actually led to a rather spectacular shouting match between a tourist and a security guard because she felt she was being pushed around too much. The lady was promptly escorted out of the building, and as our tour guide said afterwards, this place is not like the Prado museum, where you can spend the entire day looking at your favorite paintings. But perhaps he should have warned us beforehand and we might have been spared all the drama!
So how it works to visit is that you have to show up at least 30 minutes before the doors open. You can then buy a ticket for a tour starting at a set time, which means you might have to kill another half hour - all this for a 45-minute tour! For this reason, if you're only in Madrid for a short period of time, I don't think I would recommend visiting this convent. However, if you're there long enough, then it's definitely worth going. The art collection is massive, the cloister is surrounded by 33 beautiful chapels, and the building itself is very impressive.
Opening hours: 10:30 am to 12:45 pm and 4:00 pm to 5:45 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. 10:30 am to 12:45 pm on Friday. 11:00 am to 1:45 pm on Sunday. Closed on Monday. Admission: 5 Euros.
A severe, almost inconspicuous brick façade conceals a treasure trove of religious art from the period of the Madrid of the Habsburgs. This Monastery, consecrated to Our Lady of the Consolation but known as the Barefoot Royals, is run by the close Order of the Poor Claires, and was founded by Joan of Habsburg - a sister of King Philip II - in the 16th century. The monastery was founded in the very palace where the princess was born and was chosen by many young ladies from wealthy aristocratic families who opted for or were forced to live a monastic life. In a similar manner as in the Monastery of the Incarnation, thanks to the dowries donated by well-heeled families, the monastery soon became one of the richest in Europe and that translated in an unrivalled collection of masterpieces from the European Renaissance and Baroque, where the austere, pious iconography required by the religious vows, aims at matching the opulent taste of the Spanish noble classes. The Monastery's art collection includes works by Titian, Rubens and Brueghel the Elder.
When affluent nuns ceased to arrive to the monastery, unable by law to sell or auction its artistic heritage, it was forced to allow visitors into the building, which remains open partially as a museum. Tours are exclusively guided.
The Monastery is now administered by Patrimonio Nacional (National Heritage), a State agency that runs the sites owned by the Spanish state and used by the King of Spain and the Spanish Royal Family as residences and for state ceremonies.
its a striking christian monumental building dating from the 16 th century it has a wonderfull staircase, with frescos and a lot of paintings amongst which Bruegel and Ribera. The stairway leads to a hallway where you find at the firts floor artefacts of rare quality and tresures.
Monasterio de la Descalas (Descalaz) Reales started its life in the 16 centrury as a Palace but Dona Juana, Filipe ll sister decided it should be a convent. She would visit the convent shoe less to show her humility as do most of the Sisters today. The name Descalzas literally means shoe less. If you plan on visiting inside please arrive early to be at the head of the line - only a few visitors are permitted inside for a tour and you may have a long wait if you are at the end of a line.
The Convent occupies the mansion that was the residence of the King Carlos I, and it was built in the 16th century.