Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande, Madrid

4.6
Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande boasts the largest dome in Spain. This impressive Roman Catholic church with Neoclassical design is a source of excitement, as the exterior is beautifully done. Once inside, take a tour and discover large collections of paintings, statues, and objects. The guide will explain the importance of the building and its history. The streets surrounding this attraction are filled with shops and entertaining nightlife. Make your Madrid itinerary with Inspirock to find out what to see and where to go.
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Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,732 reviews
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4.6
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  • To see it from the outside you would not even see that you are in front of one of the 4 largest chapels in the world, you are truly speechless. Absolutely to see!
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  • Neoclassical church, in the District La Latina, built between 1776 and 1784, under the direction of Sabatini (the interior decorations are, however, nineteenth century). I liked it already externally, imposing, with the convex facade and with the large dome, much larger than the 2 bell towers, which seems to "crush" the church itself. But the wonder is inside: once you walk through the front door you are breathless, amazed by the size of the dome (the largest in Spain and the 4th in Europe, after the Pantheon, St. Peter and St. Mary in Flower, all 3 in Italy) that towers over the visitor and his Beautiful decoration. Too bad I could not take photos (I was ligio to the obvious prohibition placed at the entrance, although then I came to the doubt that maybe the ban could only relate when you enter to attend religious services and not when you enter for the tourist visit). The whole interior is in fact under the dome, but along the circumference there are 8 deep spaces: one for the presbytery, one where the cantory is, in the face and then 6 chapels. Not only is the dome wide but it is also high, so the chapels are also high, so the canvases you find inside them (on the 3 sides) are very large. And let's not talk about trivial canvases: for example in the first chapel of sx there is the painting of Goya of San Bernardino that preaches in front of Alfonso V, and canvases by Antonio Gonzales Velazquez (not to be confused with the most famous Diego); in the second chapel of dx all the paintings are by Carlos Luis De Ribera. In contrast there is the balcony with a beautiful grate in which 2 organs are placed on the sides and the ceiling frescoed like the dome. The presbytery is accessed via a marble staircase, flanked by 2 remarkable marble pulpits. Inside the presbytery four bronze statues on dark marble pedestals; the apse is all frescoed and also do not miss the magnificent stables. But the whole interior is very rich, from the decoration of the walls, to the large marble statues placed between the chapels and the presbytery, to the aquasantiere and the fine processing of the interior of the front door. But it is not finished here, because from the doors placed in the presbytery you enter a circular path that leads to a succession of environments, placed behind and on the sides of the apse, which contain the square, a very large collection of paintings by Spanish artists, among which Zurbaran, Alonso Cano and many others. But there are not only paintings, you will also find many stalls, some with a remarkable carving work, frescoed ceilings, gilded mirrors, furniture and fine doors; some rooms would certainly not disfigure in a royal residence. In my opinion, this basilica is one of the best the city can offer. The price of the ticket (5 euros) is widely repaid. Of course not to pay you could come here for the SS. Mass, but you could certainly not circulate freely (if not in the short time before the start or after the end of the function) and then you would not see the premises of the square. The basilica is open for visits from Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30am to 12.30pm and from 4pm to 6pm (until 7pm in the summer); On Mondays there are no visits and Sundays are reserved for The Masses (in weekdays the SS. Masses are usually before the morning visiting hours begin).
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  • Outside and park next door looked pretty rough for such a landmark but inside and the done were amazing. Look out for the (ahem) additions that look almost like cardboard cutout when looking up. Great monument that needs a little love to be spectacular.
  • Arguably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been from an architectural standpoint. The history is fascinating, the artwork from the 1400-1500’s, the organs, the entire experience is genuinely breathtaking. Our guide was primarily Spanish speaking, but he gave brief explanations on things to English speakers too. You have the option of walking through on your own or with the guide - definitely do the tour first and then walk around to see more of what catches your eye. I can’t recommend this enough, absolutely a must see in Madrid.
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