This version of the Royal Palace was a result of a fire that engulfed its predecessor, the Hapsburg Alcazar, to the ground in 1744. Luckily the Royal family was staying in the Parque Buen Retiro, so Phillip V decided to replace it with a new palace to be designed by the Italian Felipe Juvarra. The construction lasted only 26 years and spanned two more architects as well as two more monarchs, Charles III and Charles IV. The palace was occupied by the Royal family until 1931 with the abdication of Alfonso XIII. Today the King, Juan Carlos I lives in a rather modest palace, The Zarzuela, located outside Madrid with the Royal Palace being used for state receptions. The palace is surrounded on three sides by gardens, the Campo del Moro, the Sabattini Gardens and the Plaza Oriente an is entered through the impressive Plaza de la Armería
Plaza de la Armería (Armoury Square)
Forms the main entrance to the palace and is named after the Palaces Royal Armoury, an incedible collection of of weaponary which includes suits of armour belonging to Charles V and Felipe II dating back to the 16th century. It also contains an excellent collection of French shotguns ranging from Phillip V’s armourer to the Winchester given to Alfonso XIII by the President of the United States.
Salón de Columnas (The Hall of Columns)
Once used for royal banquets, it is decorated with 16th century bronzes and Roman imperil busts. It was here that the treaty for Spain’s membership into the European Union was signed on the 12th June 1985.
Salón del Trono (The Throne Room)
The room is preserved in the decorations of Charles III and is impressive with crimson velvet wall hangings and ceiling painted by Tiepolo in 1764 symbolising the “Greatness of the Spanish Monarchy”
Alfonso XIII Comedor de Gala (Banquetting Hall)
Decorated in 1879 the salon is able to dine 145 guests and is decorated with 16th century Belgian tapestries. It also displays silver objects, table and crystal ware used by the monarchs.
Sala de Porcelana (The Porcelain Room)
Built to the orders of Charles III, the walls and ceiling are entirely covered royal porcelan from the Buen Retiro Factory highlighting its Green and White porcelain covered in cherubs and wreaths.
Salóns de Gasparini (the Gasperini Rooms)
Named after it’s Italian designer includes the Kings Dining Room with itis original Meng’s painted ceiling, the Antechamber with it’s portraits of Charles IV and queen Maria Luisa of Parma by Goya and the Gasparini Room, covered from floor to ceiling with rococo decoration
Real Farmacia (Royal Phamacy)
Redesigned to display a collection of jars and herb storage drawers dating back to the 18th century. The museum also has the recipe books detailing he medications prescribed to the Royal Family.
Well worth a visit whilst in Madrid.