Madrid, City of TerracesALUMNUS MASSIMO CARONE TELLS ABOUT HIS LIFE IN SPAIN'S VIBRANT CAPITAL, ALWAYS IN BALANCE BETWEEN WORLDLY PLEASURES AND PROFESSIONAL DUTIES
The typical exuberance of Latin cities meets the efficiency of Northern European capitals: this is Madrid in a nutshell. As for its inhabitants, their lifestyle is a perfect balance of worldliness and rigor. Living in Madrid is simple, starting with the efficiency of urban travel. Trams, buses and subways connect all neighborhoods of the Spanish capital, and at night you can take advantage of the city’s excellent and cheap taxi service: impossible to stay on foot, unthinkable to spend the prohibitive fares that are paid in certain European cities, even when the traffic bustles with the rhythm of nightlife. In fact, Madrid is the true capital of Spanish nightlife, and no madrileño that would even think about avoiding a party or a dinner in pleasant company. Every day is good to share a meal or a drink, but above all, you can eat at all hours: the kitchens of the restaurants and bars work non-stop from noon until two o'clock at night.
But what madrileños are especially fond of are terraces, and they use the word to refer to either rooftop terraces or sidewalk terraces. While the latter are frequented in all seasons, day and night, terraces on the buildings’ upper floors are usually open from April to October. There you drink a glass, eat simple meals, celebrate birthdays, and enjoy privileged, spectacular views of Madrid. The most frequented by foreigners are the terraces of hotels such as Hotel Urban, Principal, and Me, which overlooks Santa Ana. Lovers of this kind of places also greatly appreciate the terrace of the Museum of Fine Arts, which offers a comprehensive view of the city, from north to south, as well as to the east. Finally, City Hall also has an open-air bar open to the public, which provides a great view of Cibeles, the big square where Real Madrid fans pour out to celebrate the team’s victories. The love for nightlife is not, however, an excuse to delay the start of work the next day: quite simply, Madrid’s inhabitants sleep less than most Europeans. Similarly, the propensity to go out does not prevent Madrid-dwellers to be devotees of sporting activities. The city parks, in particular El Retiro and Casa de Campo, are equipped with tennis courts, paddle courts, and soccer fields managed by the municipality of Madrid. If you want to play, you do not need to be a member of any club and the rates are very accessible: it doesn’t take much to start a game.
by Ilaria De Bartolomeis
Translated by Alex Foti