I’ve been secretly wanting to post about the street signs in Madrid ever since I moved here. Each street in Madrid has a sign intricately painted on nine white tiles that commemorates its history, and some of the illustrations have dark stories to tell.
This one tells the story of a miracle, and you can read it here on my Cowbird page, or just keep reading.
Legend has it that a wealthy priest once lived on this street, whose possessions were coveted by his Portuguese servant. One night the servant killed the priest, cut off his head, and ran off to Lisbon with all of the gold and valuables in the house.
When the priest’s body was discovered it became the talk of Madrid, but since the servant had escaped, after some time the crime was mostly forgotten.
Some years later however, the servant returned to Madrid, now dressed in the guise of a prosperous gentleman. He was walking through the Rastro one morning (the city’s largest market and slaughterhouse), not far from where the crime had been committed, and decided to buy a calf’s head for his dinner (a common dish in Spanish villages at this time). After buying the calf’s head, he placed it under his cape and began to walk home.
A nearby watchman noticed blood dripping from under the servant’s cape, and stopped him to demand to know what it was. “It is the calf’s head I just bought at the market”, he told him. But the watchman was still suspicious and he asked to see it.
When the servant opened his cape, to both of their astonishment and horror, it was the head of the priest that he had murdered. The watchman immediately arrested him and brought him to jail. In the trial that followed, the former servant was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged in Plaza Mayor.
Once the execution had been carried out, the priest’s head turned back into that of a calf.
This means “fist in the face street”, and it’s not because of a street fight long ago. Puñonrostro is actually someone’s last name.
Sword Street, because there was a fencing school on this street and the owner always left a sword hanging in front of his house to advertise.
Calle de Jesus
I love this one.
This is the only pictogram street sign I’ve found so far!
And lastly, our street! Calle del Amor de Dios. Looks like we’ve got double protection – from the gods and the surveillance cameras.