Our brilliant culture columnist Valentina Vacchelli, takes us to on a tour of Barcelona in her latest article….
Barcelona is a city-temple of art. Every street, every corner inspires visitors from all over the world with its bright colours and shapes, with its smells and noises, as if they had just come out of a painting. When looking at creations such as the Sagrada Familia or Parc Güell, I felt as if there were no limits to imagination and creativity; here everything seemed possible.
Gaudí is the signature artist of Barcelona. As a member of the Catalan Modernism, he worked all over the city, designing there some of the most creative buildings in the world. The apex of his creative career is the project for the Catholic Church of the Sagrada Familia (Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família), whose construction started in 1883 and is still ongoing. The project is so grand that only 8 of the final 18 spires have been built so far, and Gaudí himself spent the last 40 years of his life working on it.
Every single part of this church is so cured in its details and symbolism, that one visit is not enough to grasp them all.
The engravings on the entrance doors are my favourite elements in the building; the words engraved on them are parts of passages from the Bible, some of which have been plated in gold.
Don’t miss Parc Güell and Casa Batlló, two of Gaudí’s other masterpieces. Parc Güell is an absolute carnival of colours and shapes, between the beauty of the nature and the bright mosaics. At the main entrance, tourists are welcomed by a giant multicoloured salamander, made with Gaudí’s famous mosaic technique. If you like this style of architecture, you must absolutely visit Casa Batlló. The many balconies resembling bone-shapes and the coloured wavy roof are two of its most famous characteristics. The parts of the inside visible from the museum are also worth a visit.
On my first day in Barcelona I took two sightseeing buses, the red and the blue ones of the Barcelona Bus Turístic, in order to grasp the general atmosphere of the city and of its monuments. It’s an alternative experience, especially if you sit on the top floor of the bus which is uncovered. Don’t forget to visit the Palau de la Musica Catalana, a breathtaking concert hall.
I still remember the view of the stained-glass skylight with a sun in the middle, as being one of my favourite parts of the city. The Miró Museum and the large public market of La Boqueria are also two places not to miss.
WHAT TO WEAR
If you are travelling between June and September, be prepared for a very hot summer. Take with you some comfortable shoes to hop on and off buses and to walk a lot. If you plan to visit churches, remember to bring a shawl if you are sleeveless in order to enter them. Don’t forget swimming trunks for the beach! Apart from this, just let your fashion soul be captured by the colours of the city.
FOOD & Co.
The restaurant ‘Elche’ has been making paellas in Barcelona since 1959 but also offers a fantastic selection of fish dishes. If you feel in a cooking mood this week and you want to try some Spanish recipes, have a look at at the recipe of the Spanish Potato Tortilla (Tortilla Española). The preparation is very similar to the Italian frittata, mixed with fried potatoes and onions. It’s really delicious and it’s a perfect alternative dish.
Valentina Vacchelli, Culture Columnistbookmark me