Tag Archive: Ermita de San Antonio

Easily, you’d tick off: 

But there are smaller-sized, more manageable museums like: 

Museo Lazaro Galdiano

The museo housed in the Galdiano Mansion is actually where the childless Lazaro Galdiano lived with his Argentinian wife, Paula Florido. Along with the estate given over to the Government is Señor Galdiano’s impressive collection of paintings, sculpture and other works of art. This one generous intellectual obviously collected without regard for cost.

Sorolla Museum

This is the house where the great Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla lived with his lovely wife and muse Clotilde. This is where he painted in his spacious, lovely studio. Imagine the great painter here with his wife and 3 lovely children. And the gardens!

Museo Cerralbo

If you are in the area visiting Plaza de España and Templo de Debod, it’s a good pitstop (from the cold or all that sun) before proceeding towards Calle Bailén to view the Palacio Real or Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral. 

Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida

The mortal remains of Goya lie in this original 18th century Neo-classical church, while worship was transferred to the adjacent sister church. Both churches are tiny, with floors shaped like a Greek cross.

Monasteries de las Descalzas Reales

In this Convento, I have this feeling that the wealthy families of the barefoot royals donated what’s “BEST” from their own collections and treasures. I can only imagine them saying goodbye to a daughter or a sister and parting with a treasured work of art to keep the novice nun “company” and provide a source of joy.

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If you can enjoy Madrid without shelling a euro, why ever NOT? This blog will hopefully guide you to enjoy Madrid without shelling a euro.






My best freebie experience in Madrid is my visit to the Senado. I sent an email requesting permission to view Juan Luna’s “Battle of Lepanto”. My blog on this adventure speaks of my Filipino pride. Juan Luna has that effect on us.






From the Senado, you can switch to that most remarkable Spanish Master whose art evolved through the years. Take the Metro to Principe Pio. Off the beaten path, but your interest would peak just knowing that Goya is buried here in Ermita de San Antonio off Paseo de Florida. Headless. His frescoes on the dome is Madrid’s mini- Sistine Chapel. Do check out my blog on this Goya adventure.






Need some air? Have a small picnic at the Parque de Retiro. Off the Retiro Station, have a glimpse of Plaza de la Independencia before strolling off to the Park. It is a huge park. I easily spent 2 hours walking, sitting, reading here. I wished I brought a sandwich and a thermo jug of good brew. Perhaps next time.






Luna and Goya. Then a relaxing afternoon and picnic at the Retiro Park. Not bad. It doesn’t end there. More freebies in store for you. 😊By 5pm, start moving your ass to get back on the metro for a ride to Banco de España from where you can begin your paseo along Paseo del Prado. Prado Museum is free from 6 pm onwards. On the other hand —- just a few hundred meters away —- the Museo del Reina Sofia is free from 7pm till closing time at 9pm. I would suggest you don’t view the exhibits in one go. After all, it’s free so what’s the rush? Just make sure you don’t go on those days the museums are closed. But if you only have a day and want to enjoy these freebies, you’d be fine restricting yourself to the Prado. Stay till closing time to leisurely view the works of art of the Spanish Masters.







Have another day to spend without spending? Well, you can always go back to Museo de Reina Sofia (6-8pm) or there’s Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol and the Cathedral of Almudena. The last 3 make for a great photowalk. Don’t forget to visit the crypt beside the Almudena Church! And if there’s still time, go sit in any of the parks near Almudena Church and Palacio Real. Sabatini Garden and Plaza del Oriente invite you to simply relax and catch your breath while enjoying great views. If you’re lucky, you can even witness the changing of the guards. Or the changing of the royal horses. Both are great spectacles!

Done the Prado Museum thrice. Each time, I was drawn more to the Spanish Masters. With much time to spend in Madrid, I was able to schedule my Prado visits in such a way that I devote the next 2 hours just viewing 1 or 2 artists.







Goya is among Spain’s greatest, if not THE. His statue stands on a prominent site on the Museum square, and rightly so. I lost count of how many galleries or halls inside the Museo where his paintings hang. But I do remember that Goya requires more time and attention. Amazing how his works evolved through the years. The religious paintings, the nude paintings, the more surreal — shall i say “fierce”? — paintings. More amazing is his life story. Imagine him as a man about town, painting the Duchess of Alba in all her nakedness, witnessing the Mayo Dos failed insurrection and painting it from memory, going deaf as he began on his “Pinturas Negras”, dying in Bordeaux, France and buried in Madrid without his head. That last piece of information about his headless body so intrigued me that I ventured to search for his resting place.






The metro stop says Principe Pio. Walking right from the station along Paseo de Florida for some 10 minutes, the statue of Goya proudly stands in the glorietta fronting the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida. I thought I was seeing double when I reached the place, only to learn that a sister church with twin features was built right next to the original which has since been turned into a Museum. The mortal remains of Goya lie in the original 18th century Neo-classical church, while worship was transferred to the adjacent sister church. Both churches are tiny, with floors shaped like a Greek cross.





As expected, photography was not allowed inside the tiny museum-church. A pity. I would have loved to snap photos of Goya’s frescoes. The photo above and those below are some photos grabbed from the Internet, just to give you an idea of Goya’s genius. Surely, the Hermitage of Saint Anthony is so fortunate to house Goya’s masterpiece. There are mirrors — spotted at least 4— so one can view the ceiling, the dome without craning one’s neck. Still, I couldn’t help looking up to admire this intriguing man’s work. For a while there, I thought there was a banister or some kind of railing around the dome to allow one to go up and view the frescoes up close. I even assumed Goya painted from there while his assistant busily stirred his pigments. Was I dead wrong.






The cherubs painted on the ceiling looked like they were lifting the drapes for the audience to view the obra maestro. A child’s leg “hanging” from the banister made me realize that the feigned banister is part of the painting showing villagers witnessing a miracle of San Antonio. The artist even painted himself with a black cloak in this dome fresco! Each character in the painting has a different facial expression — pain, adoration, awe, joy, gratitude, festive, surprise, glee, fright, even indifference. Very very expressive figures and gestures caught in canvas. I like how Goya’s paintings seem to have blurred edges (this layman’s description), as if the artist smudged over the edges without losing the details. The restoration work done here and completed in 2005 is definitely commendable.





Yet this site, this tomb of this magnificent artist is often missed. As I have. Been here 2 months until I ventured off the beaten path. But why headless, you ask? Goya died in Bordeaux in 1828. His head was stolen in France before the body was transported to Spain to be buried under  a very modest gravestone here. In death, as in life, Goya’s story truly invites one to either stand in awe or sit in contemplation. Now….. Let’s have that last look on Goya’s “Naked Maja”. Did the Duchess of Alba really sit for this painting? Or did she “lie” for this painting? 😊😊😊