Getting to the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
From Madrid visitors can take either bus number 664 or 661 or the train line C-8 from Atocha Station. If you really want to enjoy this magnificent place without worrying on how to get here or how to visit it, book a day-tour to El Escorial.
The day-tours include a visit to The Valley of the Fallen, a memorial monument conceived by Spanish general Francisco Franco to honor and bury those who fell during the Spanish Civil War. The tour leaves from Plaza de Oriente and last five hours. If you count with a full day, you can chose to visit El Escorial Monastery, the Valley of the Fallen and Toledo on a full day-trip.
The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
San Lorenzo de El Escorial was the official residence of the King of Spain nearby the Royal Burial site inside the Saint Lawrence Monastery. The monastery is located 2.5 miles outside Madrid. It was created by Felipe II in the second half of the XVI century. This religious site was originally created to host the Order of Saint Jerone or Hieronymites.
Traditionally, the Spanish Monarchy was related with the Hieronymites. Felipe II wanted to create a special place to locate their main monastery next to his parents’ graves and to commemorate the Saint Quintin Battle victory. The King assigned the royal architect, Juan de Herrera. He conceived an extraordinary building that originates a new architectural style called Herrerian.
The Saint Lawrence Monastery started to be built in 1562 and finished in 1584. Inside the huge building bolds the amazing structure of the Saint Lawrence Basilica. Inside the basilica there are two cenotaph –one in the memory of Carlos I and the other of Felipe II- and the Royal Mausoleum. The church and the mausoleum are decorated with frescos, paintings and sculptures made by Zuccaro, Tibaldi, Monegro, El Bosco, El Greco, Goya and Cambiaso.
Visiting San Lorenzo del Escorial
The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial was declared UNESCO World Heritage in 1984. The visit includes the Saint Lawrence Basilica, the Courtyard of the Kings, the Palace of Philip II, Pantheon of the Kings, the Hall of Battles, the Pantheon of the Princes, the Art Gallery, the Architecture Museum, the Gardens of the Friars, and the Library. There are two open facilities outside the main building La Casita del Infante y La Casita del Principe.
This two buildings were design by Juan de Villanueva. La Casita del Infante was made especially for Gabriel de Bourbon, the son of Carlos III. The building is an Italian style villa with gorgeous gardens.
The Casita del Principe was designed in 1772 to be the official residence for the Principe de Asturias –a noble ranks corresponding the King’s son. The palace reminds the architectural style of the Museo del Prado in Madrid, being consider one of the best works of Villanueva. Inside the palace is decorated with frescos painted by Vicente Gómez, Mariano Salvador Maella, and Francisco Bayeu.