Casa de América or Palace of Linares is in central Madrid in Plaza de Cibeles and it’s one of the best known building in town.
It shares a roundabout with the Bank of Spain, the Town Hall or Palace of Communications, the General Headquarters of the Army and the fountain of the goddess Cibeles.
Constructions began in 1877 in order to be the residence of the Marquises of Linares, Raimunda Osorio y Ortega, and José María Murga y Reolid. In 1872, by the times of King Amadeo of Savoy, Don José María and Doña Raimunda received the title of Marqueses de Linares and Counts of Llanteno. The couple bought the plot of land from the City Council where the old Pósito Real (cereal warehouse) was located, although the construction of the palace did not begin until five years later due to political instability during the Revolutionary Sexenio. During the six years between 1868 and 1874 Spain suffered a revolution (La Gloriosa), a queen deposed, an Italian king from the house of Savoy, a parliamentary monarchy, a total “game of thrones”, an assassinated prime minister, a king who abdicated, two civil wars in addition to the revolution ( the cantonal and the third Carlist wars), a republic of 11 months and four presidents, and we might probably still be missing something.
Decorated by the best architects and artists of its time, this delightful palace would be the residence of the counts between 1884 and 1902, a relatively short period. It is one of the best preserved nineteenth-century palaces in the world, with its tapestries from the Royal Factory, the Gobelins Factory, paintings on the ceilings, Chinese silks, vases, woodwork, paintings by artists such as Francisco Pradilla, lamps, and a general style following all French and Italian trendy fashions of the previous century in each of its rooms.
After the Civil War and a lot of back and forth, the palace was rented to different companies in the 50s. After a few years of abandonment, its demolition was seriously considered until it was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1976. Four years later it would be used as the setting for the film Herencia Nacional by Luis García Berlanga. Since 1992 it has been the headquarters of Casa de América, a consortium founded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Community of Madrid and the City Council.
As Casa de América, it is a cultural reference in the capital for the countries of Ibero-America with a movie theater, exhibitions, round tables, concerts or high level literary presentations, such as recently the Argentinian Martín Caparrós or the Colombian Héctor Abad Faciolince.
The Palacio de Linares also has a Doll House (probably not what you think) and is known for the very dark legend of Raimundita that we explain in our article: ” The legend of the ghosts of the Linares Palace “.
It can be visited on Fridays at 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. for 8 euros. Tickets are sold in the office at normal opening hours during the week. There are dramatized visits the first Saturday of each month including as an example the legend of Raimundita.
To find out more about the Palace of Linares and this area of the city, feel more than welcome to book our free tour Madrid of the Bourbons , which includes this palace and runs through the Prado and Retiro areas.
And if you want to discover the most interesting stories of Madrid, do not miss our free tour Madrid ! We will be waiting for you with open arms!