Spanish version

Caprice Park - Parque del Capricho

Duke and Duchess of Osuna by Goya

This park is still quite unknown even to Madrid´s inhabitants. Maybe because it is not in the center of the city and it only opens on weekends.
It is located at the Alameda de Osuna.

In the XVIII century the Duchess of Osuna bought this ground. She belonged to  a well known aristocratic family interested in music, arts and literature. They wanted the garden to become a place for leisure and enjoyment.

The idea was to create a park where the visitor would be surprised by different small buildingsand special arrangements, like a labyrinth, which would appear unexpectecly while walking in the park.

Old Woman´s HouseAmong these buildings is an old cottage, called Casa de la Vieja (Old Woman´s House). There the duchess and their friends, wearing fancy dresses, liked to imitated what they thought was typical country life. Of course, their image of coutry life had nothing to do with real life and even the cottage does not represent a typical Spanish country house.

Another building is the hermitage. They even had an old hermit living there, fray Arsenio, in order to make the place more real. For a long time it was believed that we was buried next to the house.

We could say that these kind of park was what now-a-days is an amusement park.

The park was very popular among the Madrilian aristocracy and it was an honour to be invited to visit it. The Duchess wanted to compete with the Duchess of Alba and even the Queen Maria Luisa. Therefore she hired two well known French gardeners who had to promise not to work in any other garden in Spain.

During the War of Independence all that area was occupied by the French army.
After the War the Duchess returned to Madrid and continued  embellishing the park.
Her heirs also tried to maintain the style of the park, for example organizing horse races.
The park belonged to the Osuna family until the end of the XIX century, when the last Duke lost all his posessions due to Jardin del Capricho his immoral and lavish lyfestyle.

During the Civil War the park did not suffer mayor damage, but several anti-aircraft bunkers were built.
After the war the park was owned by different people who let it decay. It was used to store machinery and some action films were shot there.
In 1974 the Town Hall bought the park and has been rehabilitating it.

A visit to the park is an unforgettable experience. Still today it is amazing to find such a splendid example of  romantic park, so no tourist should leave Madrid without having seen this park.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
Sponsored by Keydomo S.L.