A visit to the Lázaro Galdiano Museum

Lazaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid. 

Lazaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid. 

Museums in Madrid

The Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia are “The big three” when it comes to museums in Madrid. But I tend to be more appreciative of some of the not so-well-known museums.

The Lázaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid was the private residence was the private residence of José Lázaro Galdiano and his wife Paula Florido.  Lázaro was a collector and the museum is full of stunning artifacts, paintings, jewels, manuscripts and works of art from around the world.  

You can walk through the museum on a self-guided tour reading the panels about Lázaro and his wife as well as their immense collections. Aside from this regular type of visit, the museum offers captivating guided tours.  Instead of walking through the museum and showing all the works of art, the guide uses the displays available to give a historic tour on a certain theme. Travellingaroundspain.com recently was invited on a tour sponsored by Vivanco foundation that gave the history of wine via the artifacts and paintings in the Galdiano museum.

History of wine

The Vivanco Foundation hosted the wine tour at the Lazaro Galdiano museum in August. 

The Vivanco Foundation hosted the wine tour at the Lazaro Galdiano museum in August. 

History of wine in Greece

The guide started with some Greek artifacts and explained that wine was frequently used in ancient Greece, especially in symposiums. The word symposium has changed over time but it originally comes from Greek and meant “to eat and drink together.”

These symposiums were meetings that men (no women) of a high social class attended. The president of the meeting would make sure that the correct amount of wine was served, just enough to achieve the state of euphrosyne, joyfulness or mirth, but not too much so that everyone was drunk. The idea was that with the right amount of wine people wouldn’t be nervous to speak and express opinions and in this way philosophy and knowledge would flow.

History of wine in Italy

From the Greek times, our guide took us on to the 15th and 16 century in Italy where wine was used extensively as a common drink at every meal and for medicinal purposes. Archaeologists estimate that the average consumption of wine per person per day in Italy was 2 ½ liters.  This generous portion of consumption is more understandable when looking at the circumstances of the time period.

1. Wine was easily accessible as grapes thrived.

2. The Italians believed that wine cured most ailments and had family recipes of wine mixed with herbs or other products such as wolves kidneys or dog excrement. Most homes had large ceramic jars where they would mix wine with herbs and other matters to make recipes for common illnesses from headaches to menstrual or stomach ailments.

3. Wine was drunk instead of water at most meals.   

There was a Latin saying that also helps explain the common attitude of the time period, roughly translated it says: wine is health, beer is truth and water is bacteria.

Stay away from the life threatening water!

History of wine in Northern Europe

Northern Europe had a different opinion of wine. During the 15th century in Italy wine was a common and encouraged drink, the northern countries had a different view. Wine was found in art showing it as an enemy where paintings depicted hell showed tormented people being forced to drink wine.

But, starting in the end of 16th century beginning of 17th century the northern countries started accepting wine with normality as well.  Why?  Scholars from the north travelled to Italy and saw a different culture and brought these ideas back with them to the Scandinavian countries. Up until then wine and drinking alcohol of any kind was related to pubs, taverns and sinful activities.  

Monthly thematic tours offered by Lazaro Galdiano museum

During this tour we were only taken to the part of the museum that related to our topic of wine. The history come alive and gave a lot of insight into how other cultures lived in the past. Each month this museum offers thematic tours. September the theme is: fashion. Check the web sight to see what the theme of the month is when you are visiting. I guarantee you will learn a lot and thoroughly enjoy the tour.

Practical information:


Address:  C / Serrano 122, 28006 Madrid

Visiting hours : Open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed every MONDAY and 24, 25 and 31 of December of 2017. Groups and guided tours consult.



C / Serrano - 9, 16, 19, 51

C / María de Molina - 12

Paseo de la Castellana - 7, 14, 27, 40, 145 and 150

C / Diego de León - 61


Line 5: Rubén Darío (exit Paseo de la Castellana)

Lines 7 and 10: Gregorio Marañón

Lines 5 and 9: Núñez de Balboa (exit Velázquez)

Lines 6, 7 and 9: Avenida de América (exit Pedro de Valdivia)


General admission: 6 €

 Guided tours in the afternoon: € 8 (from October with prior reservation)

 Reduced ticket : € 3 (only at the ticket office prior to documentary accreditation, if applicable):

  • Over 60 and pensioners; - Students with valid card.

  • Family groups consisting of at least one adult and three descendants (or two, if one of them has a disability), provided that they are included in the same large family title (pursuant to article 15 of Royal Decree 1621/2005, of December 30 and according to definition of article 2 of Law 40/2003, of 18 November, on Protection of Large Families).

  • Persons with a disability greater than 33% who show at the ticket office their valid disability card or pensioner and in force.

  • Concerted groups (more than 10 people)

Free entrance:

  • From 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sundays from 2 to 3 pm.

  • Children under 12 years old accompanied by an adult.

  • Citizens in legal situation of unemployment.

  • Teaching staff (according to article 104 of Organic Law 2/2006, of May 3, Education)

  • Visitors included in agreements signed by the Lázaro Galdiano Foundation and providing for such an eventuality: ICOM, Colleges


Tel: 91 561 60 84