Convento de las Trinitarias Descalzas de San Ildefonso

You are going to discover The Convent of The Trinitarias Descalzas, to enrich your reading we have chosen for you a Baroque piece and its rock &roll version! Cool, right? 

Johann Sebastian Bach -Toccata and fugue in D Minor, original version.

Johann Sebastian Bach -Toccata and fugue in D Minor, rock version

Johann Sebastian Bach Toccata & Fugue in Dm, by Sinfonity

360 Photo


In 1612, interest rates decreased in Spain, and the moors were expelled for exemplary measures. In the Royal Decree, it is said that all the orders from Lerma had as much authority as those that could came from the king himself.
Felipe III legitimized the position of his favorite, the Duke of Lerma, in the Councils. The voices of the opposition to the regime began to be heard, led by the many soldiers arriving from Flanders, who were unemployed due to peace. These protests were encouraged and supported by the Duke of Uceda and Father Luis de Aliaga who wanted to overthrow Lerma at any price.

In 1639, it was decided to reform the building, affecting the church and the cloister. The nuns moved to a house on another street. Due to the war of independence of Portugal, which broke out in 1640, the construction of the current building could not be done until 1673.



  • The comedian Pedro de Villegas hurts the brother of don Pedro Calderòn De la Barca in 1629. This violent comedian, Pedro de Villegas took refuge in this convent because the justice and Pedro Calderon were running after him. The building was assaulted by the deputies, but they didn't find Villegas.
  • Nuns of the convent paid the rescue of Cervantes when he was a prisoner in Algiers.
  • Cervantes was buried in this convent in 1616.
  • Cervantes' daughter became a nun in this building.

 Miguel de Cervantes' tomb.


The Convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas is a building with austere personality, which consists of a church and a convent. In 1698, the church was finished and in 1752 the new convent. It is located in the street Lope de Vega. This building is not very famous, but nevertheless   it is an example of the Madrid baroque and convent architecture of the 17th century. It has some of the principal characteristics of baroque buildings, for example:

  • Extraordinarily ornate decorations and details
  • Exuberance of windows
  • It has in the interior a dome
  • The facade is combined with exposed brick walls and granite sockets, which was typical in the Baroque style.


Reliefs in the frontage of the building

Main architectural and decorative elements

"El Convento de las Trinitarias" it consists of a church and a convent. In 1698, the church was finished, and in 1752, the new convent. The building is simple and austere. The church has small dimensions and stands on a Latin cross plan with a single nave. In its interior, there is an altarpiece on the main altar, a half orange dome on scallops with a lantern, and also inside the church, there is an oil painting of St. Cecilia and the vision of St. Augustine. Finally on both sides of the Christ two sculptures (La Magdalena and San Pedro de Alcàntara).

Its exterior is simple, and its main facade is composed of two lateral stone strips, a triangular frontispiece at the top and three half-point entrance arches in the center, with the decoration of a bas-relief and the coats of arms of the marquises of the Laguna. On the facade you can see a commemorative tombstone with the bust of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The gravestone is placed at the foot of the temple, next to the entrance. The convent has a courtyard, cloister and cells.


Facade of the Convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas      Headstone in memory of Miguel de Cervantes

State of conservation and restorations carried out

In 1639, María de Villena y Melo, marquise of the Laguna and the Lady of the House of Braganza, gave part of their Portuguese legacy (2000 duchies) in the first architectural reform that is known. Due to the war of independence of Portugal in 1640, they weren't able to reform until 1673.

The main altarpiece is dedicated to San Ildefonso, and it is "the most important" of the seven Baroque altarpieces that are located in the temple. This work was made by the Toledo master Manuel Mesain in 1739. In 1767, it was redone with polychrome and gilded. The state of conservation of the altarpiece wasn’t bad, but dirt was visible with small cracks and with faults (as well as partial repainting, especially in the base). The reformation consisted of  elimination of repaints,the volumetric and chromatic reintegration, the sitting of the polychromy, sealing of cracks and the final protection. The masonry of the altarpiece, the reliefs and the sculptures have also been restored.

Here you can observed the alterpiece of the church

Who commissioned its construction?

The convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas de San Ildefonso was built in 1612. The construction was commissioned by doña Francisca Romero, daughter of Julián Romero, that he was a general of the armies of Felipe II in Flandes.


In 1639, it was decided to reform the building, affecting the church and the cloister.

Due to the war of independence of Portugal, which broke out in 1640, the construction of the current building could not be undertaken until 1673. In 1673, the convent was enlarged and the houses in which the nuns lived were demolished, and the chapel where Miguel de Cervantes is buried. In 1688, the reform was paralyzed by the death of Marcos López. Once again the works under the direction of José del Arroyo, were finally completed in 1698. In 1698, the church was finished, and in 1752 the new convent. The commemorative plaque to Cervantes, is the work of Ponciano Ponzano.

Original and current function.

The convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas was originally built  to be a convent and a church. The nuns lived many years there. But nowadays, in addition to being a convent and a church, Las Trinitarias is known as the resting place of Miguel de Cervantes. Also, it is a touristic place, where the visitors can visit the sepulchre of Cervantes, the church and the convent.


Five of the most common rocks in construction were used to built up the convent of the Trinitarias: granite, dolomite, brick of clay, limestone and flint. 


Bricks of clay


Limestone. It is a sedimentary rock composed of carbonate minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium carbonates. The most important limestone minerals are calcite and aragonite, and in dolomitic limestones, dolomite. In its purest version, it is white, but when mixed it obtains a different shades such as brown and ivory among others. It produces effervescence in hydrochloric acid.

Dolomite. Dolomite is a rock composed mostly of the mineral calcite. It is almost never found in modern sedimentary enviroments.

Flint. Flint is a hard sedemintary rock. It is surprising, but nowadays the geologist hasn't discovered yet the geological origin of flint.

Brick of clay. It is manufactured using clay compounds, unlike to other minerals. This mixture is emptied into molds and then dried and cooked. It is a very resistant stone because it supports large structures. It also keeps places cool in warm climates. Bricks of clay have a high duration and a lot of thermal resistance. It has durability and prevents the passage of water through it.

Granite.  Granite is a plutonic igneous rock made by cooling magma deep enough in the earth's crust. Granite ​​is known as a construction material with excellent performance.
The granite does not absorb as much water, which means it is resistant and strong against ice and frost, even in areas with extreme conditions. Also, granite resists compression efforts perfectly. It has a  high resistance to bending and, therefore, the resistance to the impact of granite is quite high, so they are very useful in pavements where there is higher risk of this.  Finally, it accepts any shape and a wide range of dimensions.


Flint is a very hard stone formed mainly by silica that has sharp edges when it breaks.

Brick of clay is one of the most common materials and it is very resistant and strong. As we said before, bricks of clay regulate hot and cold, and absorbs humidity better then other materials.

Dolomite's components are perfect to use as stone in buildings.

The limestone is an extremely resistant material, suitable for cladding facades and pavements. It isolates the temperature very well. They use this material because it is a tough and cheap material that was obtained from the nearby quarries of Madrid.(Colmenar Viejo …)

The granite is used as a building material and in decoration because it is strong, dense and hard material. It is not fireproof but resist high temperatures.

The two laterals stone strips contain granite



  • Brick of clay: The brick of clay is manufactured made up of clay compounds, in addition to different minerals. This mixture is emptied into molds and then dried and cooked.
  • Limestone: Limestone can be originated in Spain in cities like Valencia, Baleares, Almería, Alicante, Madrid, León
  • Flint: Rocks in Madrid usually come from laSierra de Guadarrama, where the quarries of Alpedrete, Zarzalejo, Moralzarzal, Colmenar Viejo, Galapagar and Cadalso de los Vidrios.
  • Dolomite: is plenty of in the region of murcia
  • Granite. It was extracted from the quarries that were north of Spain as: Valladolid, León, La Coruña and Bilbao. 



With the past of the years, obviously, rocks had suffered alterations. One of main factors that affected alteration  are methereological phenomena, the pass of the time and pollution. For example, limestone is affected by the pass of the years and approximation with acid. Humidity and erosion also deteriorated granite. 

Here you have our CoSpaces (a 360 photo of The Convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas that also explains to you more things in a different way about this magnific building).

If you play this video, you would see an arquitect talking about the Convent

Hope all this information has be useful to you!