see + do
Tel: 34 91 356 2200 (box office)
Concierge.com's insider take:
Even as modern Madrileño culture continues toward yuppiedom, the proud old tradition of the corrida de toros has not died. Yes, young people now make fun of it: 20-somethings will tell you that they've never been to a fight in their lives, that it's inhumane, that it's a dying relic of their grandfather's era (or, if you prefer, Hemingway's era; read Death in the Afternoon for his greatest account of the sport). All of these things may be true, but Las Ventas, Madrid's central and most famous bullring, continues to thrive, and its fights are still televised in bars all over the city, where the older male crowd gathers around televisions to watch the bloody proceedings over beer. The season runs from March to October; the center of it all is the San Isidro bullfight festival from mid-May to mid-June, when fights take place daily. Otherwise, fights are on Sundays and sometimes Saturdays, usually in the pleasant weather of the early evening (around 5:30 p.m.). The novillos are periodic fights featuring rookie bullfighters. Novillo tickets are cheaper, and the quality is lower—expect to see some young fighters stalk off in disgrace to a chorus of boos after failing to kill the bull, even after four or five stabs. For tours of Las Ventas, call 34-91-556-9237.