The very fabric of Madrid.
Madrid, Spain, has so much to offer. The extraordinary Prado, where masterworks by Rubens, Titian, Raphael, Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco knock us out. The Reina Sofia Museum, whose centerpiece, Picasso’s “Guernica,” moves us beyond measure. The charming Old Town. Palacia Real, home of kings.
But if all that isn’t enough to draw you to Madrid, consider another gem, this one off the beaten path: Real Fábrica de Tapices, the Royal Tapestry Factory.
In the early 1700s, after Spain lost Belgium and its tapestry factories, King Felipe V founded the workshop. His intent? Supply his country’s palaces with luxury goods made in Spain.
Real Fábrica invited artists to paint “cartoons,” drafts for the tapestries it would manufacture. Among the original artists? None other than Francisco de Goya, whose cartoons now hang in the Prado.
The factory today houses a major collection of tapestries, carpets, and cartoons created between the 16th and 20th centuries. But this is much more than a museum; a visit here allows you to witness history in the making, as skilled men and women hand-weave tapestries using silk and wool in only the most traditional methods. Aside from their creations, these artisans also train the next generation of weavers, and the factory serves as a foundation that preserves the heritage of their work.
Finally, if your pockets are deep, consider ordering a little something special for your house. According to a 2016 article in Architectural Digest, “the quality is incredible,” and tapestry prices average about $22,000 per square meter (about 11 square feet), with rugs “a relative bargain.”
For information about travel to Spain, contact Mariana Tosic at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888‑490‑8008.
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