|The Monasterio de las
Descalas Reales started out as a 16th century
palace. In the middle of the 16th
Century, Dona Juana, sister of Felipe II,
transformed the palace in to a nunnery.
ceiling of the convent's main stairway has
a fresco of Feliipe IV and the royal
family peering over a balcony to watch those of us
that climb the stairs.
|Visitor Tip: Arrive
early and make certain to position
yourself so you are near the front of the
line when it starts forming. Only a few
individuals are allowed into the convent
at a time (Tours are guided only). If you
are not near the front of the line when
the doors open, you may be standing
outside for a couple of hours before being
allowed to enter.
are in Spanish, but if you are
lucky an English- speaking guard might
point out to you some of the highlights
of the tour.
Dona Juana was know for her tending
the convent in her bare feet (descalzas
means shoeless), a practice continued
today by the current nuns in residence.
|The convent is exceptional in
its art treasures. Paintings by
Brueghel the Elder, Titan, Murill and
Surbaran are viewed on the tour.
Exceptional Flemish tapestries adorn the
former nuns' dormitories.
was allowed to take non-flash photographs
in the very low light nunnery.
of Flemish tapestries created from designs
provided by Rubens.
Normally, I find tapestries kind of boring,
but these tapestries are impressive. They are the
best preserved tapestries I have encountered.
The Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales is
located at Number 3, Plaza de las Descalzas Reales.
Visit the military museum Museo del Ejército
Go to the Valencia Spain Guide top page