After we have taken our scheduled flight from Heathrow to Madrid, we are welcomed at the airport by Peter and Tom, who will escort us by coach to the centre of Madrid. Following a light lunch at La Manon, in Paseo del General Martínez Campos, we then walk over the road to visit El Museo Sorolla, the former studio mansion of the artist Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923). The house, which was built between 1910 and 1911, has been left as it was when the artist died and displays an impressive array of his finest works. Sorolla is best remembered for his serene and calm narratives depicting children, women and animals - often in Mediterranean seaside settings. In addition, the house displays the artist’s fine collection of furniture and medieval paintings, as well as some superb ceramics and tiles. We will also have a chance to wander through the Andalusian-style garden, which was designed by Sorolla himself. After our visit, we make our way to the centrally located 5* Hotel Villa Real for our six night stay. An evening lecture by Peter introduces us to the musical and artistic world of Madrid, and after a private drinks reception, we enjoy dinner with wine at the hotel.
Following our morning lecture with Peter, we make our way to the Royal Palace - the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family - where we have a guided tour of the state rooms and its collection. The Baroque palace was designed by Juan Bautista Sachetti and construction was begun in 1738. It took 17 years to complete. Among the many things that we will see on our visit are Sabatini’s spectacular staircase, the Throne Hall - featuring a ceiling painted by Tiepolo, the Hall of Halberdiers, and the Royal Chapel, which houses a unique collection of string instruments made by Stradivari. We then head off to La Rotonda Restaurant in the Westin Palace Hotel, where opera singers will entertain us while we are having lunch. The theme of the opera performance is Seville and will include music by Rossini, Bizet and Garciá. Continuing with the musical thread, we make a pilgrimage to 35 Calle de Leganitos, in the old city, to see the outside of the house where the Baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti lived during his time in Spain. The evening is free to explore the many restaurants in the local area.
Today is Prado day, although not all of the time will be spent in the famous art gallery itself. Museo del Prado, founded in 1819, is Spain’s national art museum and has a range of paintings that stem from the 12th to the early 20th century. It includes outstanding works by Dürer, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, El Greco and Velázquez, as well as a fine range of paintings with musical connections. With this in mind, Peter will present a study morning at the hotel, where he will discuss in depth - among others - Titian’s Venus and the Organ Player, La Tour’s Hurdy Gurdy Player, Falcone’s A Concert, Brueghel the Elder’s The Sense of Hearing and Goya’s Duke of Alba - who holds in his hand a score of music by Joseph Haydn. Peter will illustrate the sessions with period music. After an included lunch, we make our way on foot with Peter and Tom to the nearby Prado for a guided tour to see, in the flesh, the paintings discussed in the morning. There will be plenty of time to explore the collection at leisure. The evening is free to explore restaurants in the local vicinity.
Following our morning lecture, we make our way to El Escorial, an historical residence of the Kings of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres northwest of Madrid. On arrival, we have a morning coffee before enjoying a guided tour of the royal site. El Escorial was founded by Philip II in 1563 as a votive monument and pantheon to the Spanish monarchs from the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V onwards. Its complex, though simple, design was created by Juan Bautista de Toledo and completed by Juan de Herrera after Toledo’s death. We enjoy an included light lunch together before making our way back to Madrid and to the Cathedral of Almudena where Peter will give an organ recital of music by Antonio de Cabezón, Antonio Soler, and Domenico Scarlatti. We return to our hotel. Subject to availability, there is the option of a concert or opera performance.
After our usual post-breakfast lecture, we make our way to the nearby and spectacular Thyssen Bornemisza gallery. The Thyssen-Bornemisza collection is one of the most important private assembly of paintings of the 20th century and our guided tour explores familiar works by Pierro della Francesca, Holbein (his portrait of King Henry VIII), Tintoretto, Titian, Caravaggio and Canaletto. It is a treasure trove of great paintings. After a group lunch, the afternoon is at leisure so that people can do a little exploration of Madrid on their own. There is an included dinner this evening at the excellent Restaurante La Fuente de la Fama.
Our penultimate day is spent in Toledo - the original capital of Spain - and we make our way there by coach, stopping en route for coffee and biscuits. We then meet our guide at the escalators that in turn give us access to Toledo. Among monuments included on our itinerary for the day are: the Cathedral, a 13th century building considered to be the apotheosis of the Gothic style in Spain; the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, erected in 1180, and according to an inscription on a beam may well be the oldest synagogue extant in Europe; Museum of Santa Cruz, built by Cardinal Mendoza at the beginning of the 16th century and one of the earliest architectural gems of the Spanish Renaissance. After an included lunch, we return to Madrid where there will be time to relax before enjoying a final group dinner at the hotel.
After the last of our morning lectures, and after checking out of our hotel, we have a visit to El Museo del Romanticismo which is a museum housed in an 18th century building devoted to artefacts from the Romantic period. It contains a wide range of impressive period paintings but also is home to many 19th century pianos and other musical instruments. We follow this with a group lunch and a little free time in the afternoon before making our way to the airport for our return flight to London Heathrow.
Lectures by Peter Medhurst
Thomas Abbott - professional tour manager & art historian
Organ recital by Peter at the Cathedral of Almuden
Musical paintings study morning
All excursions, entrance fees, guided tours & gratuities for hotel & restaurant staff included
5* central Madrid hotel
Lunch included every day
Three dinners included (with a private drinks reception on Day 1)
Direct scheduled flights from London Heathrow to Madrid
Executive coach in Spain
Audio headsets included on Days 2 to 6
El Museo Sorolla
Royal Palace - guided tour
Opera singers at La Rotonda Restaurant
35 Calle de Leganitos, the home of Domenico Scarlatti
Museo del Prado - guided tour
San Lorenzo de El Escorial - guided tour
Cathedral of Almudena - organ recital
Thyssen-Bornemisza - guided tour
Toledo - guided tour including the Cathedral, Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca & Museum of Santa Cruz
El Museo del Romanticismo
We stay six nights at the 5* Hotel Villa Real (www.hotelvillareal.com). The hotel is located in the heart of Madrid, in the Plaza de las Cortes, and only a few steps from the Museo del Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum - perfect for our requirements. A welcome dinner preceded by a private drinks reception and a farewell dinner are included at the hotel with another included dinner at an excellent local restaurant on Day 5. All rooms are en suite and feature television, telephone, hairdryer, mini bar and an in room safe.
Single room supplement £399
Optional concert or opera performance
Local accommodation tax to be paid directly to the hotel
Concert or opera performance on Day 4
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Tailor make your group tour
If you are a Group Organiser and think you can get a group of 15 or more, we can tailor make your own tour exclusively for your group.
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020 7064 4970
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