TFree museums and fairs on the Rambla

Part 1.

Between chaos, sangria and tapas, the most famous street in Barcelona hides some pleasant surprises

Free museums and fairs on the Rambla

La Rambla is the epicenter of the tourist frenzy. Between souvenir shops, vendors and street artists it has become the symbol of the holidays of this city. An avenue just over 1 km long that meanders dividing two famous districts of Barcelona: the Gothic and the Raval.

La Rambla

La Rambla

The history of La Rambla begins in an ancient past. A long time ago, in place of the tiles and small kiosks, the Malla torrent flowed, into which the black waters of the center flowed. In the Middle Ages then, with the evolution of the city, the stream gave way to the street that we can still see today.

For city dwellers, myself included, La Rambla is often a boulevard to be avoided like the plague. For most of the year it is the nerve center for selfies, walks with ice cream, groups of tourists who follow the colored umbrella of a guide and illegal vendors. The summer days and the mild climate give no respite to the massive crowding of this street almost throughout the year. But despite the not entirely encouraging premise, the Rambla offers not only noise, paellas and sangria.

Wake up early

Waking up early on Sunday morning is a good strategy to appreciate the city in a different way.

I close the door of the house and head towards the Rambla in a good mood. With good surprise I notice that the crowds and chaos at this hour are just a bad memory. The sensation of space that I perceive frees my view that ventures into the corners of the street, expands and runs as far as it can.

La Rambla has a different atmosphere on a Sunday morning. The facades of the buildings and the window decorations can finally be appreciated in all their splendour. I walk towards the port when a building near the Boqueria market catches my attention with its large open door

What is it about?

The history of Virreina

Free museums and fairs on the Rambla

The Viceroy Manuel de Amat y Junient, who lived in the 18th century, returned to Barcelona from Peru with a great fortune. So he decided to commission the construction of a Baroque-Rococo style building as his future home in the center. Completed in 1778 Manuel Amat decided, at the age of 72, to marry MarĂ­a Francisca de Fivaller y de Bru who was just 24!

Unfortunately, after only 3 years of marriage, the viceroy died, leaving Maria Francisca a widow. Despite her mourning, she decided to continue living in the building, which took the name of Palacioo de la Virreina.

The Virreina Palace was declared a national heritage in 1941 and in 1944 it was purchased by the municipality of Barcelona where inside you can admire the famous Giants and the eagle of Barcelona. Cultural heritage of the city.

The Center of the Image of the Virreina

Free museums and fairs on the Rambla

If like me you are passionate about culture and art exhibitions, you are in the right place! The Virreina palace not only offers a beautiful and bright facade, but inside take place the Centro de la Imatge la Virreina. A museum institution dedicated to completely free contemporary art.

Through the door a large atrium welcomes me with two flights of stairs which lead to the upper floor. Here where Manuel Amat and his wife Maria Francisca once lived, today there is a succession of really interesting art and photography exhibitions.

To know what kind of art exhibition is present at the moment, just consult their web page Centre de la Imatge virreina.

The peace that can be found inside is truly rejuvenating. Is amazing to get lost and contemplate the various works of art scattered throughout the various rooms. The time passes fast, however my wristwatch brings me back to reality. So I decide to resume my journey to the port. As I pass the famous Liceu Teatre my view is distracted by some stalls that fill the Plaza Reial.

Fiera numismatica e del libro 

The Plaza Reial dating back to the 19th century. Today is tourist’s destination for tapas and paellas by day and diversion by night. But Sunday morning is a whole other thing. As the sun rises between the walls of the buildings that delimit its perimeter, the spaces dedicated to the stalls of the numismatic and philatelic fair fill up little by little. Here for over 125 years you can find rarities and oddities every Sunday morning.

In a relaxed environment, I browse through stalls of old books, coins, stamps and even sparkling wine corks, coasters and pins!

Really collecting has no limits!

Free museums and fairs on the Rambla

Immersed in works of art, coins and collector’s memorabilia, I spend a pleasant and different Sunday morning.

La Rambla is not just chaos, tourist frenzy and paellas. If taken at the right time, it can offer moments of relaxation and pleasure in discovering the details of this city full of art and extravagance.

Marco Pachiega. 

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