guida di Madrid

Madrid guide: between bullfighting and Picasso the true face of Spain

“Madrid is the place where you learn to understand”, he sanctioned Hemingway. And said in this way it might seem like one of the usual jokes of the macho with the pen, of the writer in love with bulls, boxers and soldiers. Yet it doesn’t take much – a walk in the alleys next to the Gran Via or an aimless afternoon a Malasana – to understand that once again Hemingway was right. Because this is where you understand, if you want, Spain. The real Spain, at least. Because the other cities of this great nation are also Spanish: but not only Spanish. Madrid, on the other hand, is the essence of this state. In order to understand each other, Granada And Sevillefor example, they are Andalusian charms scented with orange. Rum raisin it is a Moorish dream that has bowed to the scent of mustard to indulge the ill grace of charter tourists. Barcelona is Catalonia that we dream of Europe and, a little, perhaps ashamed, of the brothers of the south. Madrid instead it is itself, capital proud of being it and in some cases even a little disdainful, never tame and certainly not prone. She haughty but not charming, full of life and self-confident. For this browse the Madrid guide it means scrolling through a book full of surprises: and it means discovering the true flavor of Spain.

Madrid guide: from Gran Via to the gay area of ​​Chueca

“Madrid is a strange place. I don’t think you like it the first time you go. It has nothing of what can be expected from Spain. AND’ modern rather than picturesque yet it is the most Spanish city of all », wrote Hemingway in a book from the 1930s. Before puffing up his chest in his own way, spilling rivers of words about bulls and bullfighting in Las Ventas, the largest “plaza” in the world, about the machismo of men who, they say here, “dress in light” in the cruel hour of summer afternoon. A fresco of Madrid that is certainly real but equally certainly partial, one of the possible facets of a city that is many cities in one, where the Art Nouveau canyon is invaded by the cars of the Gran Via coexists with the Montenapoleone shop windows in the district of Salamanca. As well as the bleak red lights of calle de la Luna touched the lively triangle of Chuecaa taste of tolerant Greenwich village in the very Catholic Spain. And, where, above all, there are bars and clubs, a meeting point for people of all ages, the pulsating soul of a city where sleeping early seems a shame. And where, even years later, the long embrace of the “movida”, a sigh of relief for the end of Francoism, beats time to the rhythms of the everyday life of a Madrid guide who for certain pages recalls the words of a song by Manu Chao.

Madrid guide: the rhythm as in a song by Manu Chao

To understand it just follow the guide of Madrid and start your visit by choosing one of the hottest areas of the Madrid night, la Malasaña sung by Manu Chao or the more touristic area of Latina where the tables welcome the ritual of the long aperitif. Beers and dyed wine, tapas And racionepeople from Madrid meet and talk to each other, they chew the time of chatting and relaxing, fascinating tourists and those who arrive here and are immediately swallowed up. From a city more to live than to look at. Even if the traveler then disembarks at the Prado and there, spellbound, he would stay there for hours Prado in Madrid it would be worth spending a month there every spring ”, Hemingway continued. Which he hinted at Velazquez’s bridesmaids unfairly neglecting the surrealist predictions of Hieronymus Bosch or the suggestions of Goya or El Greco and the thousand other pearls framed on the wall. Embedded in a rosary of treasures that embraces the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza (one of the largest private collections in Europe) and the Centro de Arte Reina Sofìa where the fabulous «Guernica»By Picasso jostles among the masterpieces of Spanish artists.

Here, in this wrinkled plateau which, seen from the plane, seems arid and lifeless, and which instead, in the heart of the city, explodes with the green of endless and beautiful gardens like the Parque del Buen Retiroa Sunday oasis for Madrilenians among Sevillana guitarists and improvised puppeteers, or in the Campo del Moro, stretched between the Royal Palace and the rio Manzanares. From which to get away slowly, following our Madrid guide to slip, perhaps, into the alleys of the Moreriathe old Arab quarter, being attracted by a new dance of chatter and flavors in a brewery where, with tapas», Tame the evening. Before moving on to the next one and starting over according to a very Spanish custom that here becomes a real national custom. Even if then, not even 500 meters from the Plaza Major, seventeenth-century heart of the imperial city, unravels the «Barrios» of Lavapies where the Middle Eastern kebab has long since dethroned the Iberian «bocadillos» and where the chants of the inhabitants smell of the sounds of the southern shore of the Mediterranean.

Madrid guide - a bullfighter triumphs at the plaza de toros de Las Ventas

All this, side by side in absolute freedom and without forcing, with the lightness that this city has been able to adopt, leaving behind the ancient grandeur of an empire to conquer the contemporary greatness of a European capital, where cultural opportunities are good for everyone. tastes, the subway lines are many and efficient and where you live a lot. But it also works. And finding out how this combination holds up is one of the many reasons why visit Madrid and its neighborhoods. Even if then certain habits that some seem out of fashion by now resist beyond every change of times. And on summer Sundays there are many people from Madrid who, as in the days of Ordoñez and Dominguin, meet in the “taurini” bars around the Plaza de toros de Las Ventas for a glass of the strong one before witnessing the fierce blood and arena ritual. An apparent contrast that does not clash, in a city “which – Hemingway still speaks – to know it, is the most Spanish of all, the best to live in, the nicest people, the most beautiful climate and while the other big cities , symbolize all the province in which they are located, they are essentially Andalusian, Catalan, Basque, Aragonese and in any case provincial, only Madrid can give you the essence ». Essence of Spain, in fact.

Madrid guide - the Gran Via

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