Before leaving the Buen Retiro Palace, the Duke and his courtiers visited the theater, where so many masterpieces by Lope, Tirso or Calderón had their premiere in the time of Philip IV, who was as enthusiastic about the scene as he was about painting, not to mention a certain weakness of his towards the actresses. There the Italian visitors found a new occasion to admire and dedicate words of praise to the work of a compatriot, the Florentine Baccio del Bianco, author of some splendid and elegant scenographies, tailored to an audience always eager for beauty and spectacularity.

There is no occasion for them to attend a performance in this courtesan theater, less favored now by the widowed queen, always wrapped in her nun’s toques, but they do it in the Corral of Prince Street, where currently stands the Teatro Español. There they witnessed what, according to the chronicle, was a “representation of Santa Teresa, ennobled with different flights and machines” and they could test the enormous popularity of the dramatic art among all the social classes in Madrid.


The Theater

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