"Visit The Convent of the Royal Barefoot Nuns" Monasterio de las Descalzas Reale Tip by DanielF


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.

Phone: 34-914-548-800
Website: http://www.patrimonionacional.es/en/real-sitio/monasterios/8291

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  • Updated Jun 26, 2008
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