VillaJardines is a very good example of palatial styled homes used by gentry in Madrid in the 19th Century. Nevertheless, the building has a much richer history.
The building (first two floors and the cave) was originally built by the Marchioness of La Floresta in 1629. By birth, she was also the Baroness of Saint George and by marriage, the Countess of Quintana de la Plaza. She was married to Antonio de Quintana-Dueñas, Lord of La Floresta in Sicily (Italy), Regent of the Italian Council and Proconsul of His Majesty Phillip III. At that time, Spain was ruling Italy, among other dozen countries. Madrid was the world Court, like it would be New York nowadays.
Since 1629, several events have turned the building into what it looks like now. Major fires have been recorded in 1818 and 1855, with minor ones apparently happening very often in the fourth floor, when it was used as a laboratory in the 19th century by the Marchis del Busto. A bomb exploded in the facade in 1938, destroying all decorative items (mainly iron balconies). Now the facade is pretty flat.
What you see in the building mainly dates back from 1865, though there was another major renovation in 1902. In 1865 the illustrated Marchis del Busto redecorated the whole building according to the taste of the time. The Romantic period was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. In Spain Romanticism was very much in vogue with Charles IV (1748-1819) and with Isabella II, Queen of Spain from 1833 to 1868.
Andres del Busto moved to the building in 1865 when he married Maria Teresa de Gabiña. She belonged to a “gentle” basque family of long descent, though they never obtained the official right to bear a coat of arms. She had inherited the building from her father, Manuel de Gabiña, in 1855. She married a prominent scientific figure at the time, Andres del Busto, the personal doctor of Queen Isabella II of Spain, first, and later on of King Alfonso XII.
The original 1865 atmosphere in the building is still preserved in the 21st century thanks to the patient work of Susana Trigueros, the architect responsible for the integral restoration works just carried out in the building (2006-2012). She was able to secure the building’s heavily damaged structure, preserving the original materials while introducing 21st century technology and energy saving materials.
The objective of this blog is to inform VillaJardines’ visitors and guests about the things they can actually find in the very city center (places to go, traditions and customs, tips, the people, the sunsets, etc) from this truly romantic spot, so a visit to Madrid can be easily personalized. All suggestions are within a 15 minute walk from VillaJardines. Even if you are not planning to stay in VillaJardines, you are welcome to read all the information and, if you wish to do so, to also contribute with comments. All constructive opinions are more than welcome.
The reason why this blog is being done is because, to my surprise, I have found that some visitors to Madrid often feel a little lost with so much available information. There are so many online and offline guides bombing with too little information about too many events happening at the same time in different places in the same city that instead of clearing up doubts (like a simple what would I like to do today in Madrid?), in fact they get confused. They feel somehow overwhelmed by the sum of very little information describing hundreds of different possibilities. One described the situation as “too many little doses from too much general information does not facilitate quick decision taking and most of the times you end up doing the same as the rest”. Fair enough. At the end, they end up considering only the best known places closer to VillaJardines and simply avoid the rest. People often choose what they think suits them best, but sometimes that would change with the right information in the right time. I agree that today demands quick information, but it is very difficult to explain 450 years of a history that has involved more than twenty current countries for hundreds of years in less than 140 characters. This blog, written by locals and foreigners living in Madrid, seemed somehow necessary to explain the subtleties that are not offered in massive guides.
Let us provide you with the possibility of a better trip through this personal guide of the Madrid experience walking distance from VillaJardines. All the 24 most recommended places in several aspects are within a 15 minute walk from the very center of Madrid . I am actually enjoying myself discovering interesting historic facts about my birth city and I am also delighted to be able to write about them with a couple of friends who also enjoy the Madrid experience.
After 450 years as capital of Spain, Madrid is more than ever a living creature and bursts with things to enjoy. Thank you for taking your time to read the blog. I wish you a great Madrid experience, walking distance from VillaJardines.
Any specific requests for a dream trip? I love nice challenges 😉
All the above information intends simply to inform about the center of Madrid. Please let me know if any of this information is inappropriate or outdated.
The Madrid experience by VillaJardines is licensed under Creative Commons Reconocimiento – No Comercial – Compartir Igual 3.0 Unported License.