El Escorial: Infante and Principe!

And now that my time to Spain is approaching once again, and the libido is going out the window, looking back in my blog once again feel not given credit to this area enough. I like to tell you that I have several posts on San Lorenzo de El Escorial and its monuments, especially the monastery. However , not on the houses of the Infante and Principe.

This brief post will bring me up to date and hopefully remind you or tell you of the wonders to see there besides the main building. We love it as it is in the Comunidad de Madrid or the region of Madrid.

The Casita del Infante (also known as the Casita de Arriba) or small house of the sons of the king, but not the heir to the throne, is one of the residences of the Spanish Royal Family. It is a neoclassical building, built in the last third of the 18C, located in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial in the Comunidad de Madrid region. It owes its name to the infante Gabriel de Borbón, son of Carlos III, who used it as a recreational and resting place.

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo

This mansion is located on a promontory south of the Monastery of El Escorial and was conceived to host chamber music concerts, one of the great hobbies of Infante Gabriel de Borbón. It was carried out between 1771 and 1773, from a design by Juan de Villanueva, the same architect who drew the Casita del Príncipe or de Abajo (see below), which is located nearby.

San Lorenzo

It has Italian-style gardens on descending terraces and it was possible to listen to music from inside and outside. The original decoration was lost and the one that can be observed corresponds to the reigns of Carlos IV and Fernando VII. Vicente Gómez painted the vault with a fresco of the Four Seasons.

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo

King Juan Carlos I resided there during the time he attended college and before getting married. His bedroom and the furniture he used are preserved there. On October 19, 1988, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia held a lunch in honor of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

San Lorenzo

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of San Lorenzo on the Casita del Infante

Tourist office Comunidad de Madrid on the Casita del Infante

Spain National Heritage on the Casita del infante

The Casita del Príncipe or Casita de Abajo is one of the residences of the Spanish Royal Family. It is an 18C building, located in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in the Community of Madrid as well. It was built between 1771 and 1775, based on a design by Juan de Villanueva, one of the most important architects of Spanish neoclassicism.

San Lorenzo

It was chosen as a recreation pavilion for the use of Carlos IV, then Prince of Asturias, in a forest of oaks between the Monastery of El Escorial and the town urban nucleus. Not far from its enclave is the Casita del Infante or de Arriba (see above).

San Lorenzo

The Casita del Príncipe initially consisted of a single rectangular block, with a 27-meter façade, reminiscent of the Museo del Prado, Juan de Villanueva’s masterpiece. Between 1781 and 1784 it was enlarged with a rear wing. It has two floors.  It is surrounded by two gardens, one in the front and one in the rear, connected to each other by two Tuscan columns. The palatial taste of the time is present in its fountains, ponds, waterfalls, walks and boxwood hedges. To this is added the existence of an extensive park around it, populated by native species, such as oak and encina, local species like sequoi and pinsapo; and typical garden trees.

San Lorenzo

The Casita del Principe keeps in its interior a relevant 18C decoration, representative of the palatial art of the time, in good condition. Although much of the original elements were lost during the Napoleonic invasion, King Ferdinand VII returned to decorate it. In the 20C, the furniture was restored at the initiative of Alfonso XIII. On the ground floor, the Neoclassical Ferroni decorations of Pompeian and Etruscan style, silks, upholsteries, furniture, lamps and clocks stand out. The marble stucco and ceilings were painted by Vicente Gómez, Juan de Mata Duque, Luigi Japelli, Mariano Salvador Maella and Francisco Bayeu. On the upper floor, the vaults located at a much lower height than those on the lower floor are topped with stuccoes with reliefs. It has a room completely decorated with porcelain of Buen Retiro, with taste close to the Rococo style. This house has no bedrooms, since its use was limited to enjoy them and their surroundings during the day, and not to sleep in them.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of San Lorenzo on the Casita del Principe

Spain National Heritage on ticket info on the Casita del Principe

Tourist office Comunidad de Madrid on the Casita del Principe

These are two marvelous houses to see , the best way is to have a car , however, you can go on foot,  to the Casita del Principe  walk from the monastery in about 1.2 km. To the Casita del infante is about 1,8 km. They have good signage to lead you to them.  An opportunity to go into the wooded area and see something different from the Monastery and the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial not to leave with a great piece of history and wonderful architecture. Enjoy the  Casitas of the Infante and Principe!

Couple more webpages to give you a rounded information on the area as usual in my posts.

City of San Lorenzo on the history of the town in Spanish

Comunidad de Madrid govt culture on Juan de Villanueva in English

And remember, happy travels, good heatlh , and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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2 Comments to “El Escorial: Infante and Principe!”

  1. Interesting place. To me El Escorial signifies the end of something. The Spanish empire lost competence and ambition once Phillip II retreated there.

    Liked by 1 person

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