Housed in the former abode of the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo, Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, the Cerralbo Museum features the vast personal collections of its namesake, bequeathed to the State after his death in 1922. The 19th-century palatial mansion is almost overwhelmingly ornate and admiring its bold décor is one of the museum’s principal pleasures. The comparatively traditional façade gives little hint of the lavish interiors hidden within – a sumptuous series of rooms featuring neo-baroque and rococo elements and elaborately furnished.
The period house museum paints a striking picture of the era’s aristocracy, with an estimated 50,000 objects on display. Jewelry, paintings, ceramics and tapestries are among the items amassed by Cerralbo on his many travels. Most notable is the armory collection, including some interesting Japanese pieces; a series of paintings by Titian, Tintoretto, Zurbarán and El Greco; and an assortment of 18th-century English watches. Don’t forget to stroll around the gardens too – a classical-romantic design centered around a pretty pond.