We start the tour through the lower part of Santa Isabel St, near the Reina Sofía Museum, where you can see some kind of ancient walls. Perhaps you have ever wondered who they belong to. In this area was located the country estate of Antonio Pérez, Philipp the II famous secretary. When he fell out of favor because of his participation in murder of Escobedo (this is another great story that we will tell you in another video), his property was expropriated and Felipe III and Margarita de Austria allowed the Augustinian nuns to build a convent here.
In the video you can see a google maps snapshot that amazes us very much. You may be more aware of all the property that is hidden behind these walls: a convent, a school with its courtyards and soccer fields … and the Fernán Núñez Palace, said by Mesonero Romanos, one of the most representative palaces of Romanticism period. Visit our website (www.nothesametour.es) to check the next dates when we offer you exclusive guided tours of this Madrid jewel.
In the video we also make a brief mention of another discovery that is located right in front of the Royal Monastery, it is the neoclassical façade of the Old College of Surgery of San Carlo, later the School of Medicine and today headquarters of the Royal Conservatory of Music and Official College of Physicians.
We continue heading up along this street, which is precisely named after the Royal Monastery of Santa Isabel that we have just passed. The street runs from Antón Martín sq to the Reina Sofía Museum, and concentrates the best of its two surrounding neighborhoods, Lavapiés and Las Letras. It is a street full of life with its small alternative theatres, literary cafes, tapas bars, or the Anton Martin Market.
As example of the many beautiful classic businesses, we stop at the Vallejo Hair Salon: the oldest in Madrid as its gilded plaque indicates, 1908. What draws our attention is the classic facade decorated with picturesque tiles from Talavera de la Reina showing us delightful old advertisings. We do not show you its interior, but we recommend a visit because it keep some of the original furniture and tools. Famous beards have been through his Scissors: Gregorio Marañón and Ramón y Cajal, both renowned doctors and scientists.
We finish the tour with a final touch, the “palace of the sunflower seeds” or Doré Cinema. It has been open for a century, although its elegant art nouveau facade dates from 1922. It is the oldest cinematograph in Madrid and perhaps in Spain. In its first shows a live orchestra and choir played. Headquarters of the National Film House since 2002. It has also been a film set for multiple movies, such as “Hable con Ella” by Almodovar.
We could continue, but our little bite ends here and if you want more,we encourage you to experience Madrid in one of our Regular Tours.