Our restaurant is situated in Ópera, mere minutes away from many of Madrid sights and monuments. So we are starting a series of post to introduce you to the places you can see just before or after a delicious meal at Via Appia.
The Palacio Real de Madrid, also known as the Palacio de Oriente , is the official residence of the king of Spain in the city of Madrid but it is only used for state ceremonies. The wedding banquet of Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz took place on 22 May 2004 at the central courtyard of the Palace.
The palace is open to the public and it is closed when used by the king for state functions like state banquets for visiting heads of state, official government receptions and the presentation of new ambassadors to the king.
The site of the palace dates from a 10th-century fortress, called mayrit, constructed as an outpost by Mohammed I, Emir of Córdoba and inherited after 1036 by the independent Moorish Taifa of Toledo. After Madrid fell to Alfonso VI of Castile in 1085, the edifice was only rarely used by the kings of Castile. In 1329, King Alfonso XI of Castile convoked the cortes of Madrid for the first time. Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561.
The Antiguo Alcázar (“Old Castle”) was built on the location in the 16th century. It burned on December 24, 1734; King Philip V ordered a new palace built on the same location. Construction spanned the years 1738 to 1755 and followed a Berniniesque design by Filippo Juvarra and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in cooperation with Ventura Rodríguez, Francesco Sabatini, and Martín Sarmiento. The new palace, directly facing the cathedral across the Plaza de Armas, was occupied by Charles III in 1764.
The vast palace is richly decorated by artists such as Velázquez, Tiepolo, Mengs, Gasparini, Juan de Flandes. Caravaggio and Goya. Several royal collections of great historical importance are kept at the palace, including the Royal Armoury and weapons dating back to the 13th century, and the world’s only complete Stradivarius string quintet, as well as collections of tapestry, porcelain, furniture, and other objects of great historical importance.