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Goya gets religion

The Real Basilica of San Francisco el Grande in Madrid, Spain

The only halfway interesting church in Madrid—perhaps unique among European capital for having virtually no churches on the must-see list of sights—is the massive 1760s Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande. This Franciscan monastery-with-church sports an enormous dome so unwieldy huge (108 feet across) they've been repairing it ever since it was finished.

Beyond the carved walnut doors, the circular-plan interior of frescoed barrel ceiling vaults and German stained glass, contains a 16th century choir screen (from an older church in Segovia province) and, in the first chapel on the left, an altarpiece of San Bernardino di Siena, an early painting by Goya (who painted his self-portrait in the figure on the right who is not looking up). There also a painting of San Buenaventura purported to be by Zurbarán. The church does charge a modest admission.

San Buenaventura 1 (at Plaza de San Francisco el Grande)
tel. 91-365-3800
Tues–Fri 11am–12:30pm and 4–6:30pm, Sat 11am–noon

Metro: La Latina or Puerta del Toledo


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in August 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.