Madrid Running Tours


05 January 2018

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Architecture in Madrid throughout history: The baroque period

After the departure of the Habsburg or Austria dynasty, as they are known in Spain, and the arrival of the Bourbons with the reign of Philip V at the beginning of the 18th century, architecture in Madrid  gradually evolved from the Herreriano style which was identified with the Habsburgs into Baroque and subsequently into Neoclassicism. This was largely due to the close relationship that the Bourbons had with the Italian and French architects of the day. In today’s article I’ll briefly touch Baroque architecture in Madrid. If we had to differentiate between Baroque styles, there would be two distinct periods. The first one would be a more local, ornate style of Baroque whose principal architects were Spanish and a second period in which the architects were Italian.


Pedro de Ribera was one of the most important Spanish architects of this initial Baroque period. If you go for a run along the Manzanares River, you’ll definitely find some very nice bridges along the way. One of them is the Puente de Toledo which was built by Ribera in 1732. This is one of Madrid Running Tours favorite bridges and you can see it running with us by booking our Madrid Rio private running tour.


Pedro de Ribera was also known for constructing the Cuartel del Conde Duque, the barracks for Philip V’s Guard de Corps in 1736. This is an impressive structure which you can also see running through Madrid. Pedro de Ribera also brought a particular style of Baroque to Madrid which was coined as Madrid Baroque. It consisted of placing ornate porticos on the entrance of buildings. One of our favorites at Madrid Running Tours is the former Royal Hospice of San Fernando which now houses the Museum of the History of Madrid. These two examples of Ribera’s style of Madrid Baroque can be seen as join us on our Urban Madrid running tour.


South-east facade of Cuartel de Conde-Duque (1736) in Madrid (Spain).


The construction of the Royal Palace was definitely a landmark in the history of architecture in Madrid. In the year 1734, the Habsburg palace-fortress was destroyed by a huge fire. This would not only bring a new royal palace, commissioned by King Philip V, to Madrid but also allow the arrival of Italian and French architects to the Spanish court. This would have a lasting effect on Madrid’s architecture. The Royal Palace was primarily built by Italian architects: Initially by Filippo Juvara who on his passing was replaced by his student Giovanni Sachetti.


The second period of Baroque architecture will make itself present with the arrival of Charles III to Madrid. The new king will bring his own architects to the Spanish court. Perhaps the most important of them will be Francesco Sabatini, a Sicilian who will become the royal architect. Sabatini, who as we have seen in a prior article in this blog, left a very important legacy in Madrid. His architectural style was a less ornate form of Baroque which was classically inspired and would lead the way for the appearance of Neoclassicism. One of his most important works is the Puerta de Alcalá which is right by the Parque del Retiro and like the park itself, leaves no one indifferent. You can, of course, go running by them during your visit to Madrid and enjoy both places by booking our Classic Madrid running tour. We think your time will be more than well spent as you join us on your own private running tour through Madrid!



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