Madrid has a great many surprising little museums tucked away all over the city. The Museo Cerralbo, once the home of the Marquis de Cerralbo, is less than 5 minutes walk from the very central Plaza de España, but nevertheless, it feels like a well-kept secret.
Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, who died in 1922, must have been a total magpie because this mini-palace is stuffed full of his many collections, which are artfully displayed around the house in cabinets and on every available wall and surface…
The many swords and knives are a favourite of mine. Why stop at having a pair of sabres on the wall if you can have several hundred, all arranged in a gigantic shiny pointy pile?
Everything is richly decorated with paintings, wall hangings, murals or giant mirrors. There are red, pink and blue rooms, a library, ballroom, study and an Oriental room, complete with opium pipes. It’s absolutely over-the-top and completely fascinating. Once I had a long conversation with one of the very knowledgeable attendants, who told me some juicy gossip about the old Marquis… maybe you’ll be as lucky as me!
Free entrance on Thursdays 17:00 – 20:00 and all day Sunday.