Just over a month ago I took a walk through the streets of La Latina (Metro: La Latina) – one of Madrid’s oldest and most enchanting barrios. eThis is somthing that I often do as you never know what you will encounter in its small streets and alleyways. Aside from the great bars and restaurants like La Taverna de los Cien Vinos and El Madroño, you will find wonderful buildings, squares and churches.
One of the most curious places I came across this day was Imprenta Cicerone, I think it was in c/ Águila. As you can see by the picture it looks pretty plain on the outside but inside it housed a treasure trove of old and new bullfighting posters – there were stacks of posters laid out when I walked past and some on the walls dated back 50 years. I couldn’t tell if they were for sale – if anyone does know this, please let me know.
It appears that many of the old buildings (and disused shops) in La Latina are getting a facelift and I’m sure that this will mean more bars, restaurants and smart shops. An old "Chocolate con Churros" shop was being turned into a bar as I wandered around and an old tavern was getting a lick of paint and a new bar!
Just crossing Carerra de San Francisco you can see the impressive church of San Francisco el Grande, which was completed in 1784 and has one of the largest domes in the world – measuring 33 metres in diametre – and has 6 side chapels. Inside you will find paintings by famous Spanish painters Goya y Zurbarán. It may look non-descript from street level but just take a peep inside and you will see that it is anything but.
On the other side of the street you come across a nice little square called the Plaza de Carros (carts) – which acted as a stop for carts/carriages in old Madrid. There are quite a few nice bars around here – you may even want to have a drink at an outside table. The church which is adjacent to the square is called San Andrés and dates from 1662 – it was the the first resting place of Madrid’s patron saint, San Isidro.
To the right of the church (East) you can see the Museum and House of San Isidro, which houses a well where he was said to have performed one of his miracles.
Heading north from the Plaza de Carros I came to the down to the Plaza de la Paja. The Plaza de Paja was the old Moorish area
of Madrid, where the most important muslim market was held. In
Medieval Madrid it was the place where the nobility had residences –
the Spanish Queen Isabel la Católica, for example, had a palace here.
I have walked through this area many, many times but had never seen a door in the brick wall at the far end of this Plaza – it reminded me of the book ‘The Secret Garden’. Entering this door you come into the Jardín de Anglona – a garden which stands directly next to the Palacio de Anglona and which was restored a few years ago by Madrid’s City Council.
It is so surprising to see such a small, pleasant
garden in the middle of old Madrid. Not being a gardening expert, I
would say that it is very simple with a small number of trees and
benches, neat little lawns and some shrubs! – an ideal place to stop
and contemplate c/ Segovia and the old buildings that surround it or, alternatively, just read a book.