- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Spanish Phrases
Plaza de la Paja
Plaza de la Paja Review
At the top of the hill, on Costanilla San Andrés, the Plaza de la Paja was the most important square in medieval Madrid. The plaza's jewel is the Capilla del Obispo (Bishop's Chapel), built between 1520 and 1530; this was where peasants deposited their tithes, called diezmas—literally, one-tenth of their crop. The stacks of wheat on the chapel's ceramic tiles refer to this tradition. Architecturally, the chapel marks a transition from the blocky Gothic period, which gave the structure its basic shape, to the Renaissance, the source of the decorations. It houses an intricately carved polychrome altarpiece by Francisco Giralta, with scenes from the life of Christ. To visit the chapel (Tues. 9:30–12:30 or Thurs. 4–5:30) reserve in advance (91/559–2874 or email@example.com).
The chapel is part of the complex of the domed church of San Andrés, one of Madrid's oldest, which was severely damaged during the civil war. For centuries the church held the remains of Madrid's male patron saint, San Isidro Labrador (now with his wife's remains, at the Real Colegiata de San Isidro, on nearby Calle Toledo). St. Isidore the Laborer was a peasant who worked fields belonging to the Vargas family—the 16th-century Vargas Palace forms the eastern side of the Plaza de la Paja. According to legend, St. Isidro worked little but had the best-tended fields thanks to many hours of prayer. When Señor Vargas came to investigate, Isidro made a spring of sweet water spurt from the ground to quench his master's thirst. A hermitage (Ermita de San Isidro), now on Paseo de la Ermita del Santo, west of the Manzanares River, was built next to the spring in 1528. Every May 15 there's a procession followed by festivities in the meadow next to the hermitage. In olden days, the saint's remains were paraded through the city in times of drought.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
In this trip report, I’ll be describing my recent holiday in Northern Spain and Southern France. Here’s the breakdown of my travel: one day each in Bilbao, San Sebastian, Lourdes and Read more
My film "From Flamenco to Fez” presents a 2 continent, 3 country trip to Spain, Morocco, and Portugal. Read more
Hello everyone, my Husband and I are in our 50's and considering a pilgrimage along the Camino Frances from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela in the month of September, I'm starting to gather information, Read more
· News & Features
Even if you're not the most observant tourist, it's hard not to take notice of the literary history tha ... Read more
From tapas dive bars to triple Michelin-starred restaurants, Madrid's dining scene has it all.... Read more
The Only YOU Hotel & Lounge Madrid has debuted in Madrid's design- and fashion-conscious Chueca distric... Read more