After we went to the Templo de Debod (see all about our time there here), we popped around the corner to visit the Museo Cerralbo. I hadn't read about it in any guidebooks, but came across it randomly somewhere and am SO glad I did! It's one of my favorite places we visited in Madrid, and I especially like that it has free hours.
The Museo Cerralbo is a house museum, which may not be the correct term for it, but what I mean by that is that it's a museum housed in the former home of the owner. Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, Marquis of Cerralbo, built the home from 1883 - 1893 and lived in the home with his family until his death in 1922. The building is stone and brick on the outside, and the interior has been done in Neo-Baroque and Rococo styles.
D - I also really enjoyed this museum! Since our visit, I've been referring to it as a palace in miniature, as that's what it really feels like. It's just as sumptuous as Versailles or Schönbrunn only smaller. I actually like this because the size feels really manageable. Not too small, not too large.
When we visited, free hours were only from 2-3pm on Sundays (do check before you go, though, as it seems those sorts of things change often!), and there was a line to get in if you had a bag. We had a backpack since we had a picnic at the Templo de Debod beforehand, so we had to stand in a line to go through a security check. Once we got in, we didn't have quite enough time to see everything, so we went back the following Sunday (and there was no line) to see the rest. Take a look...
My favorite rooms were the library and the ballroom. The library, I thought, was neat because it was two levels - no other room was like it. And the ballroom was so grand and gorgeous, it was easy to imagine women twirling around in fancy dresses and men dressed to the nines accompanying them. There was even a balcony overlooking the room, where we pictured the owners of the home greeting their guests and thanking them for coming to their party. All of the rooms, though, were done up so nicely and elaborately - it was obvious that no expense was spared and that the Marquis of Cerralbo was well-traveled.
D - Another thing I liked about this house was that the general feel of the decor was very different from most other palace-type places we've visited. It felt a lot...manlier, if that makes sense? Like a big house for Sherlock Holmes, or a sea captain, or a lion tamer or something. The elegant Rococo style was still present in the house, sure, but it was infused with a certain masculine robustness that really called to my inner Antonio Banderas.
I loved the Museo Cerralbo. The home, its furnishings, art, and decorations were beautiful and offered a real taste and look into a family's life. Of course, they weren't an ordinary Madrileño family, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed a different sort of museum and getting to see art displayed in a different form than just in a gallery. I highly recommend stopping in (I think 90 minutes would be plenty) if you're in the area - it's only 3 euros if you're not available during free hours!