If you can’t face another trip to the Sagrada Familia with visiting family, it’s time to take them off the beaten track and explore some of the city’s lesser-known Modernista architecture. Beyond the star attractions, Barcelona is also home to a wealth of lesser-known Modernista heritage that the city is working hard at renovating and opening to the public: in the last year three more buildings opened their ornate doors to the public. There are no long queues in the sun to enter these living museums, just a chance to take in some outstanding design and craftsmanship at your own leisurely pace, or as part of a small tour group. The Ruta del Modernisme (www.rutadelmodernisme.com) has a detailed map of 115 heritage points in the city, of which 20 are open to inside viewing.
CASA LLEÓ MORERA
Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, with details provided by some of the era’s greatest craftspeople, this house opened to the public in January 2014. It forms part of the famous Manzana de la discordia on Pg. de Gràcia, so-named for the alleged rivalry between Domènech i Montaner and his famous neighbours on this spectacular Eixample block—Antoni Gaudí (Casa Batlló) and Josep Puig Cadalfalch (Casa Amatller). Guided tours take visitors to the house’s ornate first floor, which is home to some fine examples of Modernista sculpture, ceramics, mosaics and glassworks.
Pg. de Gràcia 35 www.casalleomorera.com
LA TORRE BELLESGUARD
Also known as Casa Figueres, this former manor house looks over Barcelona from its privileged spot on Collserola. The Guilera family, that has owned the house since 1944, opened their residence to the public in September 2013 following extensive renovation work. The house was designed by Gaudí for Jaume Figueras, a rich merchant and personal friend of the architect. Built between 1900 and 1909 it owes much of its aesthetic to the land it occupies. The castle-like exterior was inspired by the medieval fort—residence of King Martin of Aragón—which used to stand here and whose ruins can still be seen in the grounds around the house. During the summer months you can enjoy a “Noche de Gaudí” at La Torre Bellesguard with live music, guided tour and a glass of cava.
Carrer de Bellesguard 16 www.bellesguardgaudi.com
CERCLE ARTÍSTIC DE SANT LLUC
Founded in 1893, at the peak of the Modernista movement, the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc is a meeting point for artists and intellectuals and boasts an illustrious list of former members, including Gaudí himself. In 2009 the Cercle moved to its current home in Palau Mercader, a small 17th-century palace, just off Via Laietana, which was opened for public viewing in March 2014. The building houses a small but significant collection of Modernista art and a painting studio in which the style and manner of working al natural is unchanged since Modernista times. On Wednesday mornings, they run a tour that includes breakfast in the lovely bar, where you can soak up the atmosphere and leaf through Modernista magazines from around the world. The tours are very popular, so be sure to book yours in advance.
Mercaders 42 www.santlluc.cat