Royal Palace of Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, but is only used for state ceremonies. King Felipe VI and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.
The last monarch who lived continuously in the palace was Alfonso XIII, although Manuel Azaña, president of the Second Republic, also inhabited it, making him the last head of state to do so. During that period the palace was known as "Palacio Nacional". There is still a room next to the Real Capilla, which is known by the name "Office of Azaña".
The palace has 135,000 square metres (1,450,000 sq ft) of floorspace and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest royal palace in Europe by floor area. The interior of the palace is notable for its wealth of art and the use of many types of fine materials in the construction and the decoration of its rooms. These include paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Velázquez and Francisco de Goya and frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto, Juan de Flandes, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Anton Raphael Mengs. Other collections of great historical and artistic importance preserved in the building include the Royal Armoury of Madrid, Porcelain, Watches, Furniture, Silverware and the world's only complete Stradivarius string quintet.
The main facade of the Palace, the one facing the Plaza de la Armeria, consists of a two-story rusticated stone base, from which rise Ionic columns on Tuscan pilasters framing the windows of the three main floors. The upper story is hidden behind a cornice which encircles the building and is capped with a large ballustrade. The ballustrade was adorned with a series of statues of saints and kings, but these were relocated elsewhere under the reign of Charles III to give the building a more classical appearance.