September 23rd, 2010


I love going to Europe! My favorite European city so far HAS to be Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia, Spain. Barcelona has it ALL you see: the sea, the mountains, cava (champagne!), tapas, shopping and people watching along La Rambla, the Bari Gotic (old Gothic Quarter). It was not exactly PAINFUL to get “stuck” there for 5 additional days at the end of our honeymoon last April!


Our wonderful local friend, Paul Deprez picked us up from the apartment we needed to vacate in the moody, Medeival, Bari Gotic area and got us settled in to a lovely modern hotel in the Eixample (phonetically eye-sham-pla) district.


Developed mainly in the first  part of the 20th century, the Eixample district is famous for its unique Modernista architecture and the amazing buildings of  Antoni Gaudi, such as Casa Batll√≥ shown above. While I truly love the old, historic streets and buildings of the Bari Gotic, the Eixample district for me is an inspiring source of jaw-dropping visual delights.  In fact, there are so many fine examples of fine craftsmanship and insanely beautiful decorative details that could be easy for many to completely miss them because THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!


Of course, some of the most striking architectural details, for me, are in the abundant sgraffito walls and facades.


Sgraffito is a process of scraping and scratching through a top layer of colored plaster to reveal a different color layer below.


I have written before about the sgraffito in Florence, Italy, but in Barcelona the look is uniquely light and colorful.



In addition to the amazing sgraffito, there is ornate plasterwork, exquisitely detailed metalwork, and unusual stained glass.


I will be traveling BACK to Barcelona for a few days next week, on my way to our painting trip in Umbria, Italy, to visit with Paul and finalize the details on ANOTHER painting adventure-to Barcelona in June 2011!! This trip will feature the best of many worlds, as it will include a 5-day stay in a serene, historically significant monestary in the rolling hills just outside of Barcelona where we will conduct a class and complete a painting project on site. After the project is complete,we will move to apartments in the city for a week to experience this amazing city up close, in between side trips to taste cava and explore the surrounding area.

More details to follow, but please let me know if you are interested in travelling to Barcelona with me, because the group will be limited to just 8….

Pssst! There are some fantastic flickr sets of photos of Barcelona and the Eixample district if you want to see more!

6 Responses to “Ancient+Modernista”

  1. thersa b giffin Says:


    I am definately interested!

  2. Angela Gorini Perrone Says:

    Oh my goodness! You are my Fairy Godmother. Count me in!

  3. petra voegtle Says:

    Melanie – this is an eye opener – lovely post. I have been in Barcelona the last time in 1969!!! and was too young then to have a big interest in design BUT I have visited Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral of course and can still remember how impressed I was…

  4. Debbie Says:

    In too!

  5. stencil helen Says:

    A great post and I love the colours of the patterns on the outside of the buildings. I was lucky enough to have a friend take me to lunch in Barcelona for my 40th birthday. She said she would pick me up early in the morning and I should have my passport with me. I had no idea where I was going, we visited the places in your post, drunk cava and bought shoes. Great day. I was back in England by bed time.

  6. Stacey Tapinis Says:

    Dearest Melanie,
    I was trying to save my pennies for the trip to Italy this month but could not make it happen. But, I have a beautiful, inspiring, crystal box that is collecting my savings for Barcelona.
    I am in! I cannot wait.