On this your sojourn through history you have chosen the city of Madrid for your SPAIN HOLIDAY RENTALS. Your main objective this year is to find out why some of the aristocratic ladies in Madrid sought refuge in the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales bringing with them all their treasured possessions only to become one of the barefoot nuns in this convent.
Youve located your SPAIN HOLIDAY RENTALS in the capitol city of Madrid. You are in search of the little known Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales founded in 1559 by Joan of Austria. This Monasterio is also known as the Monastery of the Barefoot Royals and is filled with religious art treasures in its museum.
The daughter of the convents founder used the Monasterio as a hiding place to escape a marriage to Felipe II. This act of defiance was followed by other women of aristocratic status who additional brought their dowries with them, hence the treasure trove that exists today. This influx of treasure made the foundation one of the wealthiest in Madrid. Some of the items on display in the museum include paintings, gold and other precious metals along with religious relics.
The Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales became home to the poor and indigent women during the twentieth century although it retained its treasure trove. The reason behind this retention of these precious goods was an edict passed down forbidding the nuns of the Monasterio to sell anything. This resulted in the pope receiving a special dispensation from the state which would allow the La Monasterio to open its doors to the public. This also allowed the Monasterio to install a museum in 1960 where the treasure trove could be displayed. In 1985 the museum was rated the Museum of the Year.
Today there are still a few barefoot nuns who live here and attend their garden where they grow their vegetables. You can visit this Monasterio in the hopes of getting a small glimpse of what it was like those many long years ago when desperate ladies sought refuge in this holy place. This Monasterio was a mystery to most of the people in Madrid who wondered why the aristocratic ladies come here and become nuns. Little if nothing was known about the treasures they brought with them. Some of these offerings are of major religious importance such as the reliquaries which includes one that is said to contain a small piece of the true cross and another that has some of the bones of St Sebastian in it.
While on a day away from your SPAIN HOLIDAY RENTALS on a visit to the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales take note of the priceless paintings they have put on display. This display of masterpieces includes the priceless Caesars Money by Titian. Other works of a lesser value in the Flemish Hall are those by Breughel the Elder and Hans de Beken. This display of wealth will make you stop and wonder what ever possessed these women to give it all up to take on the solidarity life of a nun.