Wonderful modernist architecture with a perfect medieval city attached
Whether you're on a weekend city break, or staying in Barcelona for longer, you're sure to grow to love the city. It's the heart of modernism and the avant-garde in Spain - Picasso painted and exhibited here, Gaudi filled the city with gleaming archetectural gems, and the streets are full of trendy bars and shops. Most visitors spend as much time shopping as they do sight-seeing.
But behind the modern city there's another one, a medieval citadel - and underneath that, the remains of the Roman fort: Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Pia, to give it its full name. So we have two Podtours for you - one for visiting the modern city of Gaudi, and the other to wander down the narrow streets of the old city.
Barcelona - the city of Gaudi
Late nineteenth century Catalonia was a ferment of artistic activity. At the forefront were architects such as Puig i Cadafalch and Domenech i Montaner, working in what's called 'modernisme' here, 'art nouveau' elsewhere. Then Antonio Gaudi picked up their style and developed it into his own, very personal art.
On our Podtour™ we'll introduce you to these earlier, and less well known architects. You'll find their heady mix of Gothic, Japanese, classical and Arabic references infectious - as well as the way they mixed together architecture with other arts, like metalwork, fine ceramics, and stained glass.
And we'll also visit Gaudi's greatest buildings, so you can see how his style of architecture develops from Modernisme - and becomes something quite different.
Our tour starts at the Quatre Gats restaurant on Calle Montsio, where Picasso held his first exhibition, and ends at the Hospital Sant Pau. There's quite a bit of walking involved, though you can use the metro to cut out some of the more lengthy hikes.
Barcelona - the Gothic city
The history of Barcelona goes back to the Romans - and in this Podtour™ we'll concentrate on the area of the Roman city, within the original Roman walls. This is where the Counts of Barcelona made their fortress, and built the cathedral, and the government of the city and the region is still based exactly where the Romans had their Forum.
Barcelona became one of the most wealthy cities of the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. Its fleets traded with the Orient and with Italy, and its Counts married into royalty, becoming Kings of Aragon and, eventually, Spain. Signs of that wealth are everywhere in the old city of Barcelona - fine paintings, huge Gothic churches, and the medieval Generalitat building that is still the seat of the Catalan government.
We'll visit the cathedral, and get a feeling for the rather austere Catalan Gothic style. Then in what used to be the port area, we'll see how the stevedores and porters put their stamp on the church they helped to build, Santa Maria del Mar. We'll see mansions from the later middle ages, a Royal palace, and the narrow alleys of the Jewish quarter, the Call.
This tour starts in front of the cathedral, and stays mainly in the old city, but detours out to Santa Maria del Mar, ending at Sant Pau del Camp.