Purely for pleasure

Category: Art & Culture, Sports, With the kids October 4, 2012

Entrance to El Capricho Park

At the last Madrid Fashion Week, Josep Font, designer of the Jesús del Pozo collections, chose El Capricho Park for his runway show. As a result, many people discovered one of the city’s prettiest, most romantic and idyllic parks. A great unknown.

It’s hard to imagine Francisco de Goya painting his Witches’ Sabbath to hang in one of the rooms in El Capricho Palace. With its romantic atmosphere, the gardens where it stands seem an unlikely setting for housing the dark scene that can now be viewed in the Lázaro Galdiano Museum. The painting in question was commissioned by Doña María Josefa Alonso Pimentel, Duchess of Osuna, an arts, literature and music lover, who wanted to reproduce Le Petit Trianon at Versailles in her estate, situated on what were, in those days, the outskirts of Madrid.

In the late 18th century, her dreams of grandeur produced this park, which is only open at weekends and on public holidays. Its barely 14 hectares of land are home to lilacs, oak, cypress, pine… and a few monuments erected on the Duchess’s instructions. She wanted her own jetty. And she got it. Plus fountains, a pavilion dedicated to Bacchus, a shrub maze, a water well and even a beehive, opposite which she liked to sit and enjoy a drink of hot chocolate.

Fuente en el Parque de El Capricho.

An interesting fact: a lot of people don’t know this, but the city of Madrid has its own campsite, Camping Osuna. And it’s in a superb setting, only a stone’s throw from the park. And while we’re at it, another outdoor tip: very close to El Capricho, another park, Juan Carlos I, is particularly attractive. Its trees, footpaths and ponds provide a striking backdrop for its eye-catching contemporary sculptures. You can cycle round it – the bikes are free! – although the best thing about this park is the breeze. Because it’s quite high, the wind makes it an ideal place for kite flying.

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