Palacio de Fomento, Madrid

4.2
#604 of 1,609 in Things to do in Madrid
The Palace of Fomento, also known as the Ministry of Agriculture Building, is a nineteenth-century office building in Madrid, Spain. Designed by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, it is on a prominent site opposite Atocha railway station.Use and nameThe building's name has changed over the years reflecting the official name of the Ministry which occupies it. It was originally occupied by the Ministerio de Fomento (Ministry of Public Works and Transport). For most of its life the building has been the seat of the Agriculture Ministry, and the words "Ministerio de Agricultura" are prominently displayed in a cartouche on the facade.In 2008, the Agriculture Ministry merged with the Environment Ministry. The building houses civil servants belonging to the current Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente).SculpturesIn 1905, a group of marble sculptures by Agustí Querol Subirats entitled La Gloria y los Pegasos was placed on top of the building. The sculptures have been replaced by bronze replicas.Heritage status and accessIt was put on Spain's national heritage register in 1989 under the name Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación . It is classed as a Bien de Interés Cultural or Property of Cultural Interest.As at 2016 guided tours are available to the public outside normal office hours.
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Palacio de Fomento Reviews
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  • Building with a beautiful main staircase. The theatrical visit adds interesting content that makes it more enjoyable
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  • If you are near Atocha station, you can't help but notice the elegant facade of this late 19th century palace, which houses the Ministry of Agriculture. Externally you can admire the aforementioned two-tone facade, with colorful tile decorations, the majestic entrance with 2 caryatids on the sides and topped by a neoclassical loggia with 8 columns from the Ionic capitals, the beautiful gatethat that surrounds the palace with attached garden, the 3 large sculptural groups placed on the roof: originally marble, carved by Agustin Queroi, being too heavy were later replaced by the current bronze; the marble originals have been moved elsewhere and 2 of them grace 2 squares nearby, separated only by a bridge over Manzanarre (plaza de Legazpi, where is the eponymous metro stop, and glorieta de Cadiz; the third I don't know where it is). Internally you visit instead the monumental access staircase (definitely the most remarkable architectural part of the building), some rooms on the first floor, including the office of the minister and the deputy minister, the gallery with portraits/photographs of all the ministers that have succeeded over time (you will also find exhibits other paintings, from the collections of the Prado Museum), the large inner courtyard, with the characteristic metal and glass roof (this space often hosts impromptu exhibitions, and in this case it is freely accessible to the public). The interior of the building can only be visited on Saturdays and Sunday mornings at noon, through guided tours (usually in Spanish): the visit, free, must be booked by phoning the number listed in the billboard posted near the entrance (a billboard informing these guided tours). We were lucky because we showed up without reservation, at about 11.45 on a Saturday morning, and allowed us to join the group, after registration on site; the guide also, while making the visit in Spanish, spoke Italian, so we could also ask for explanations on topics that interested us or on issues that we had not understood from the illustration in Spanish. The visit lasted more than an hour and, at times, can be tedious for the non-Spanish tourist, as many stories are told about the characters who followed the leadership of the ministry, which are mostly unknown to those who do not live in Spain , in addition to a story about the construction of the building in my opinion a little too detailed (but on the other hand you can not complain, since you have not paid anything).
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