El Parterre del Retiro

This garden is the inaugural initiative with which Felipe V aimed to emulate the gardens that his grandfather Louis XIV had developed in Versailles. It has a rectangular shape articulated on a central longitudinal axis and side broderie flowerbeds. After the damage caused by the War of Independence between 1808 and 1813, its restoration was undertaken by the French gardener Francisco Viet, who levelled the ensemble by building a brick masonry wall at the semi-circular end and an adjoining central and two side fountains.

From its access through the Puerta de Felipe IV, a stairway leads to the great hall with a central corridor and symmetrical flowerbeds, in which Rococo-style vases, originally in the initial layout, are arranged. The centres of each of the side flowerbeds feature a rectangular-shaped pond with exedras, in which there is a small fountain with a sprinkler. The main wall is occupied by the apse and the ramps. The Fountain of the Tritons is located in the central axis and forms a set with two other side fountains called the Fountains of the Dolphins. The central monument, which presides over the gardens under the viewing terrace, pays tribute to the theatre and to the playwright Jacinto Benavente.

Parterre del Retiro photograph