Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Visit the Royal Palace at Aranjuez, Spain

In October 2011 we returned again to one of our favourite cities, Madrid, this time with the plan to visit Aranjuez. Just a short train ride from Madrid the undoubted jewel of Aranjuez is the Royal Palace.

The curren appearence of the Palace is the result of reconstructions and additions which began with thw work of Juan Bautista of Toledo, architect to Felipe II. Over the course of time, others have also had a hand in the construction at the service of the Spanish Kings. Inside there are abundant baroque pieces such as those that can be seen in the clock, porcelain and painting rooms. The Palace is worth visiting just to see the Porcelain room if nothing else.

Another characteristic element of Aranjuez is its gardens. Opposite the east façade of the palace is the Flower-bed Garden, English in style, where the fountain sculptures are outstanding. A further two gardens begin near the buildings. Island Garden, so-called because it stretches between the course of the Tagus and the Ría, is another of the places worth strolling through. More wooded is the Prince's Garden, in a French Gothic style. 

The rest of the town also displays the same values, reflected in the layout of its streets, in the purest baroque style. Uniform buildings, tree-lined streets and spacious avenues are some of its features. A layout which makes it easy to visit other major sites, such as the Mariblanca Fountain, the Royal Theatre, the Servants' and Guest Quarters and Stables or the Food Market. There are also other palaces, such as Osuna, Medinaceli or Godoy. Among the religious architecture, fine examples are the Convent of San Pascual (work of Sabatini with paintings by Megs and Tiépolo), and the churches of Alpajés (a 
brick construction with a baroque portico) and San Antonio (with its great dome and lonic columns).