Following our scheduled flight from London Heathrow, we are welcomed at Madrid Airport by Peter and Tom, who will escort us by coach to the centre of Madrid. After lunch, we 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. We then check into the 4* Hotel Emperador on Gran Vía, and after time to unpack, enjoy dinner with wine at a restaurant near to the hotel.
Following our morning lecture, we make our way by coach 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 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. After lunch, we return to Madrid to 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 and worked during his time in Spain.
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 lunch, we make our way with Peter and Tom for the first of our visits to the Prado where we see in the flesh the paintings discussed in the morning. There will be plenty of time to peruse the collection at leisure. The evening is free to explore the many restaurants in the local area.
Following our morning lecture with Peter, we make our way to the Royal Palace - the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Here we enjoy a guided tour of the state rooms and its famous art 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. After lunch we visit the superb Thyssen Bornemisza gallery. The collection here is one of the most important private assembly of 20th century paintings and our guided tour explores familiar works by Piero della Francesca, Holbein (his portrait of King Henry VIII), Tintoretto, Titian, Caravaggio and Canaletto. It is a true treasure trove of great paintings.
Our penultimate day is spent in Toledo - the original capital of Spain – to which we make our way by coach, with coffee and biscuits served on arrival. Among monuments on our itinerary 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. Following a light lunch and our return to Madrid there will be time to relax before enjoying a drinks reception and a final group dinner at a restaurant near to the hotel.
This morning we return to the Prado for our second visit. After lunch we make our way to Madrid Airport for our return scheduled flight to London Heathrow from where we make our own way home.
Tour limited to 24 passengers
Lectures by Peter
Tom Abbott - professional tour manager & art historian
4* central Madrid hotel
All excursions, entrance fees & guided tours included
Farewell dinner & drinks reception
Included light lunches on Days 1 to 6
Return scheduled flights from London Heathrow to Madrid
Executive coach in Spain
Audio headsets included on Days 2 to 5
El Museo Sorolla - studio mansion & garden
El Escorial - guided tour
35 Calle de Leganitos - home of composer Domenico Scarlatti
Museo del Prado
The Royal Palace - guided tour of the state rooms & art collection
Thyssen Bornemisza gallery - guided tour
Toledo - the original capital of Spain
Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca
Museum of Santa Cruz
We stay five nights at the 4* Hotel Emperador (www.emperadorhotel.com/en/) on Gran Vía in the heart of the city and just a short walk from Plaza de España, Puerta del Sol and Cibeles. The hotel boasts a large rooftop garden and all rooms are en suite. Dinner is included at a restaurant close to our hotel on the first and last evenings. The remaining three nights are on a bed and breakfast basis.
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020 7064 4970
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Tailor make your group tour
If you are a travel organiser for your club, society etc and think you can get a group of 15 or more, we can tailor make this tour exclusively for your group.
Call us on
020 7064 4970
to tailor make the perfect tour
for your group