Barcelona – Casa Vicens

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Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain

Barcelona – Casa Vicens


Barcelona, Spain

November 2018

A House that Gaudí Built - Actually, his first


Gaudí’s First House: Casa Vicens,

Carrer de les Carolines, 20-26

Barcelona, Spain…er Catalonia.

Metro stop: L3 Fontana (Green line)

After taking the Modernist Walking Tour with Rainbow Tours, I got to looking up more about the works of Gaudí in our neighborhood, the Eixample. Our guide, Manu, mentioned we were in the most Gaudí-packed area of the city. It turns out he was right. There is a UNESCO World Heritage site just up a few blocks and a couple of streets over. So, on our last full day in Barcelona, we set out for a morning adventure to visit the newly opened Casa Vicens.


Oh, as for all the Gaudí buildings and most other attractions, go online and secure your tickets ahead of time. No need for a printed ticket, they are able to just check your e-ticket on your mobile.


Getting There


From our hotel, Casa Fuster, Casa Vicens is one stop up the Green (L3) Line, the Fontana stop. It was a glorious day - blue skies with a few puffy clouds and the temperature was just right for us Seattleites, about 60 F. Emerging from the subway, we headed basically north. I say ‘basically’ because I could never find the North-South symbols on our maps, which were all oriented to place the main streets as running true north and south. I guess it doesn’t really matter in such a well-planned city as Barcelona.


Let me add before going on, that if you’re in Barcelona you CANNOT miss the Casa Vicens. It’s a must. It’s the only Gaudí home that has had such extensive restoration. After years of research, forensic analysis of the home’s interiors and exterior spaces, and painstaking recreation of missing elements, the result is pretty amazing


The Property & House


The casa is located in what remains a lovely quite neighbor in Gràcia since it being completed in 1885 as a summer residence. For context, that was a mere 20 years after the US Civil War ended.


You enter the property through a side courtyard where you’ll go through a quick security check. You have to put all bags in the lockers provided, but take a Euro coin, you’ll that it to use them.  You get the coin back when you leave. From the bag area, you enter the garden area, which has been substantially reduced in size since Gaudí built the home for stockbroker, Manuel Vicens.


Gaudí was only 31 years old when he was commissioned by Vicens. It must have been quite the coup in the architectural community at the time, not to mention the house’s visionary design. As the guides (and excellent free guidebook) mention, the house set the bar for the new architectural movement we know today as Catalan Modernism. It combined Catalan, Japan, Islamic, and English styles, giving visitors – as well as the owner – a reference point for its many, juxtaposed elements.


The Garden


The original garden must have been spectacular. It contained a round fountain and large gazebo all incorporating the palate of textures, colors, and shapes Gaudí preferred. You’ll find a small coffee shop on the opposite side from where you exit the bag room. Nothing special about it, but it’s pleasant to get your café or espresso or cappuccino and take a seat to enjoy the view of the house before or after your tour of the house.


As you wonder through what’s left of the garden area, still quite lovely, you get a look of the exterior of the home. While standing in the garden, itself containing a wide variety of plants and trees, note the fan palm cast-iron grilled fence. Like all of the home, it’s a piece of art to take in over time. Apparently, the original design was intended only for the front gate, but over time the fencing was extended to surround the entire property.


Moving on, you climb a few stairs and enter the main floor of the house proper. But don’t go too fast. At the top of the landing to the front door look around at all the detailing Gaudí has installed here. It’s almost too much to take in.


The Entrance Hall & Covered Porch


Look up in the covered porch. The porch and entrance hall have been restored to their original state. You’ll see spectacular trompe-l’oeil ceilings replicating sky and leaves of the palm, an echo from the cast-iron gates. There are too many details to mention here, but take advantage of the docent’s knowledge. They pointed out many smaller details which we simply would have missed like the restored tiles and flooring. The hall connects you to the other first floor rooms.


The Dining & Smoking Rooms


Be prepared for an abundance of decorative and ornamental elements in these two rooms. According the guide, these are the most decorated off all the restored rooms. I believe it. The dining room has a hearth and a highly decorated beamed ceiling along with original furniture and paintings. But, in my opinion it is the smoking room that rises to another level.


This room has undergone what seemed the most renovation, including remaking many of the papier-mache pieces covering the walls. To be honest, we wouldn’t have notice this unless it was pointed out to us. Amazing colors, light, and proportion. Oh, and look up. The ceiling is crazy.


First Floor -


Heading up the stairs takes you to the bathrooms, bedrooms, halls, and a domed room, which is just above the smoking room and has another trompe-l’oeil masterpiece mirroring the turret that is just above, connecting the outside gardens to the interiors.


From the far corner of the blue room at the center of the first floor (2nd floor to US folks), take a look into three interconnecting spaces. Gaudi made sure to keep each room distinct but tie them all together with specific decorative pieces, like leaf motifs, the passion flower and palm.


Leaving the blue room there is a temporary exhibition space. We were lucky enough to see the inaugural exhibit of model highlighting 14 homes designed by several architects working at the time as Gaudí. The models spanned European and American architects such as Americans Sullivan, Richardson, and Wright, along with Europeans Guimard, Makintosh, and Horta. Being an architecture enthusiast, I felt quite fortunate to see all these models in one place. These exhibits will change, so check ahead to see what is there when you visit.


When you ascend the staircase to the 2nd floor, you’ll undoubtedly notice that the style is more starkly modern. This is because Casa Vicens was occupied by successive families that altered some parts and expanded others. It was a well-loved home transforming from a summer residence to full-time occupancy.


Leaving the 1st floor, you enter the ‘modern’ Casa Vicens and exhibition space with access to the roof.


The Attic


Prior to restoration, the 2nd floor attic was a jumble of walls and false ceilings – probably where servants were housed. The current space is used for a permanent exhibition of the history of Gaudí’s first house as well as examples of its constructive and decorative elements saved during the restoration.


The Roof


It was fortunate we visited on such a wonderful day. Climbing outside onto the roof terraces gave us a close-up look at Gaudí’s hallmark chimneys.  Each one a statement unto itself that combined craftsmanship and utility – even though highly decorated, they were working chimneys after all. Here are a few shots taken by Steven and me.


Do not miss Casa Vicens!


Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain
Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain
Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain
Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain
Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain
Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain
Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain
Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain Barcelona, Casa Vicens, Europe, Spain

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Barcelona – La Boqueria – Food, Friends & Travel

March 8, 2019at 9:44 pm

[…] last day in Barcelona and our last chance to come back to La Boqueria for lunch. We finished at Casa Vicens just after noon and headed back across town to La Rambla. It only took a short while to get there […]

Pilar Delgado

December 25, 2018at 7:04 am

Thank you very much for your article 🙂 Only… our website is


    December 25, 2018at 7:53 am

    Thanks! The link is now corrected.

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