8-day trip to Spain with
An itinerary that included a visit to the cities of San Sebastian, Bilbao, Caves of Altamira, Santillana del Mar, Burgos, Zaragoza, Tarragona, Barcelona.
Basque Country: Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum work by architect Gehry, at the entrance the dog “Puppy” of arch. Koons
We arrived in Spain (Basque Country) coming from the French Provence and following the road along the ocean. The first important city that we visited was San Sebastian.
It is beautiful the beach that “enters” the city through a wonderful bay.
At mid-morning of the next day we were already in Bilbao where we wished to visit the Guggenheim Museum. I hope I have been able to well represent the museum structure designed by the American architect Gehry. The building is completely covered by sheets of titanium that have different colours, from blue to yellow, from silver to red, depending on the light and the hours of the day. The entrance is dominated by a huge dog, named Puppy, which is 12 meters high and is formed by a variety of flowers placed on an iron structure, realized by another American architect (Koons).
The Italians, and the Venetians in particular, can be proud of the fact that the titanium sheets were made by a Venetian company.
Basque Country: Altamira Caves and Santillana del Mar
Then we visited the Cave of Altamira. The main cave was discovered in 1868 and is one of the world’s most famous cave for the prehistoric art (between 12.000 and 15.000 years ago) and the ceilings painted with coloured figures of bison, horses, deer.
Due to the great crowd of visitors, they decided to build another cave to be visited in place of the original one in order to prevent any possible damage.
As you can imagine, we were not allowed to take pictures. Since I wanted to satisfy the curiosity of my readers I decided to include in this photo-gallery some slides that I bought there.
Not far from the caves we went to visit the town of Santillana del Mar, a perfectly preserved medieval village with important historical buildings (from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century) and a wonderful Colegiata of the twelfth century with an equally beautiful cloister.
I would like to give a suggestion to my readers: it is worthy to spend a night in this town, in one of those ancient palaces now transformed into hotels. They can be easily found via internet.
Burgos (Old Castile): Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (Cid Campeador), Cathedral, Gateway of Santa Maria, Monastery of Las Huelgas, Cartuja de Miraflores
We entered the Old Castile along a road that goes up and down through beautiful and lush landscapes until we reached the capital of Castile: Burgos. I present the city with the equestrian statue of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, better known as El Cid (1026-1098), who did in this city the majority of his glorious deeds.
The Burgos Cathedral, a masterpiece of Late Gothic, is one of the most beautiful all over the Spain. The façade is beautiful as well as the two towers which are more than eighty meters high.
Inside there are works of art in the various chapels and the tomb of the Cid.
It is very nice the double staircase known as “Coronería”.
Another monument of great importance is the gate of the city, called the “Arco de Santa Maria” (Gateway of Santa Maria).
It is of the middle of 1500 and was built in honour of King Charles V.
We admired its nice architectural style; in the centre there are statues of warriors, among which there are those of the Cid and of Charles V.
In the upper part there is a niche with a statue of the Madonna and the Child.
We found quite interesting the beautiful Casa del Cordon and the even more splendid Monastery of Las Huelgas.
It is wonderful the “Cartuja de Miraflores” characterized by the nice marble entrance called Arco de la Veja and the beautiful marble mausoleum of King John II of Castile and his wife Isabella of Portugal.
Zaragoza: La Seo Cathedral and the cathedral Nostra Senora del Pilar, Aljaferia, ancient palace of the Moorish kings. Tarragona: Barrjo Judio, Cathedral, Palace of Augusto
It was recently renovated and visitors can admire many Islamic-style rooms with rich coffered ceilings and the imposing Gothic staircase of 1492 which brings to the apartments of the Catholic Kings who lived in the palace in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Also the Throne Hall and of the alcove room are remarkable.
There are also very important Roman remains: first of all the Palace of Augustus, then the ” Paseo Arqueológico ”, the walk along the Cyclopean Roman walls of second century BC.
We found quite interesting the visit to the Archaeological Museum where my attention was caught by a ivory doll with jointed arms and legs.
Finally, we went to the so-called “Balcón del Mediterraneo” from which we could admire the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre built on the seashore.
Barcelona: Cathedral, Palace of Catalan Music (arch.Montaner), Casa de l’Arcadia, Vincom Palace, Morera Palace
There is no better way to present Barcelona than to show the statue of Christopher Columbus looking out to sea from the top of a column of more than fifty meters.
Then, we visited the majestic Cathedral (of the fifteenth century). My attention was caught from the wooden choir because in each stall there is the coat of arms of a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece. In the crypt there is the magnificent alabaster sarcophagus of Santa Eulalia.
The adjacent cloister is very nice and with a curious feature: the fountain of the Geese (Fuente de las Ocas), where geese are bred. It is close to the “Pabellon de San Giorgio” (Saint George pavillon).
The Cathedral is in the centre of the old town where there are many ancient buildings, some very interesting such as Casa de l’ Arcadia (house of the Archdeacon of the Cathedral ), a building of the twelfth century, with a nice Gothic patio. At the end of the 1800, the modernist architect Montaner decorated the marble mailbox with three swallows and a tortoise.
We saw numerous buildings of great beauty, I mention two of them: the Vincom Palace and Morera Palace, near Casa Battló.
The Palace of Catalan Music is a modernist celebration by the architect Montaner.
The façade and the first-floor outer colonnade are very nice.
The most beautiful part of building is inside, but cannot be photographed.
I had to buy some pictures in order to include them in this photo-gallery.
What looks like a lamp is in reality a concave dome with stained glass windows of incredible beauty.
Barcelona: Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudì
We took advantage of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Antoni Gaudi to visit the palaces that he built and that were open to the public for that specific occasion.
First of all, I present his most important work, which is still unfinished: the Sagrada Familia.
Barcelona: works of Antoni Gaudì (Casa Batlò, La Pedrera, Guell Palace, Guell Park, streetlights of Plaza Real
In this photo-gallery I present the most significant buildings which we visited in the city.
I would like to remember that Antoni Gaudi (1852/1926), whose architectural activity in Barcelona was great, worked following an extreme modernist style so that, even today, some of his solutions are considered avant-garde works.