Understanding Catalan Independence and Identity
As we amble through the area, we will find broader clues to the Catalan identity. We will see Antoni Gaudí's first commission, the fantastical Casa Vicens, where the architecture genius first used organic philosophies and symbols of Catalan nationalism (for more on this, see our Barcelona Gaudí Tour). We will pass through Plaça de la Revolucio, commemorating the Glorious Revolution of September 1868 that deposed Queen Isabella II, underlining the rebellious spirit of Barcelona, and in particular Gràcia. In addition, underneath the square is an important bomb shelter from the Spanish Civil War (covered at greater length in our Spanish Civil War Tour in Madrid). This will lead to discussion of Catalonia's importance as bastion against General Franco. We may pass through the Plaça del Diamant, which lends its name to Catalan writer Mercè Rodoreda's iconic novel ( translated into English as The Time of the Doves), set in a troubled post-civil war Barcelona.
Catalan Culture Tour
As we continue, we will pass by the homes of some famous Catalans such as rumba musician Gato Perez or opera singer Montserrat Caballé to talk about how their work figures into national identity. We may also stop by some traditional shops, particularly specialty food shops, that have been in the neighborhood for generations and are now becoming a dying breed with the increasing globalization of the city (those looking to dig further into Catalan cuisine should try our Barcelona Food Tour). We may enter a particularly ancient bodega, going back in time as we admire its dusty but charming bottles of local vermuts and wines, or a bakery known for its Catalan breads and functioning antique oven. Interacting with shop owners also allows for a brief lesson on Catalan language, its survival a testament to the power of the Catalan identity.
Catalan History with an Expert
FAQ About the Catalan History Private Tour
What is a private tour?
Is this tour walking-intensive and/or wheelchair accessible?
The general route may include narrow sidewalks and cobblestoned streets; please contact us to discuss in more detail your mobility concerns so that we can best advise. We are always happy to design a private, customized tour for visitors with mobility concerns.
Is this tour appropriate for children and teens? We cover mature topics on this tour. It is not designed as a family tour, though we welcome inquisitive minds of all ages. Please contact us to discuss further if you're concerned about age-appropriate content.
A native of Barcelona, Biel has a degree in Art History from the University of Barcelona, where he wrote his thesis on Catalan artists. He is active in the Barcelona art scene, and as a Catalan, he has tremendous knowledge of the region's history and culture.
Santiago (Santi) has a PhD in Art History, focusing on Barcelona's cathedral during the Baroque period to 19th century. He is widely published in Spanish and Catalan in a broad range of academic periodicals, and has taught classes at University of Barcelona on Renaissance and Baroque art history, Spanish painting, urbanism and architecture. He previously provided guided tours of several of Gaudí’s buildings, such as the Palau Güell and Güell Pavilions, as well as Modernista walking tours. In addition to teaching and writing, Santi worked as a researcher for a well-known antiques dealer in Barcelona, specializing in old drawings and prints. Passionate about art history and architecture, Santi recently published a book about his research work in Barcelona’s cathedral through history.
Daria is a Russian journalist who covers Barcelona and Catalonia for a range of Russian media outlets. She wrote her Bachelor’s thesis on the Catalan media, and as a journalist specialises on social issues and urban development. Her article on the radical 'superblocks' project that is transforming Barcelona has been read by over half a million people. While covering Barcelona, Daria has spoken to the city’s leading urban designers, the organizers of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and even the last tenants of La Pedrera, thus helping her to accumulate an extensive knowledge of the city’s contemporary life and aspirations. However, Daria is forever biased about Barcelona: she first arrived in the city on the day of her 18th birthday and the Catalan capital has had a special place in her heart ever since. As a guide, Daria loves welcoming people to Barcelona, her one true urban love.
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