If you have visited the Descalzas, you might find its sister institution something of letdown. An Augustinian convent, founded in 1611 by Marguerite of Austria, wife of Felipe III, its main attraction is the harmonious design by royal architect Ventura Rodriguez, who rebuilt it after a fire in 1767. Between the privacy needs of the cloistered nuns and the painfully slow restoration that has been going on for decades, you see little but religious paintings on the 1-hour guided tour in Spanish. The highlight is the reliquary room, packed floor to ceiling with purported True Cross splinters, personal objects of saints, and innumerable chalices and monstrances. Perhaps the most intriguing relic is a vial of the blood of Saint Pantaleon. According to legend, it liquefies on July 26 each year, the eve of his feast day. If it does not, guides glumly warn, disaster is in the offing.
Real Monasterio de la Encarnación
Plaza de la Encarnación, 1
Our Rating Hours Tues–Sat 10am–2pm and 4–6:30pm; Sun 10am–3pm Transportation Metro: Ópera. Bus: 3, 25, 39, or 148 Phone 91-547-05-10 Prices Admission 7€ adults; 4€ children 5–16 and seniors 65 and older; free for children 4 and under Web site Real Monasterio de la Encarnación Other Closed Jan 1, Jan 6, Holy Week, May 1, May 15, Sept 9, Nov 9, Dec 21, and Dec 24–25
MapPlaza de la Encarnación, 1 Madrid
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.