Unveiling Architectural Brilliance: Explore Antoni Gaudí's Masterpiece at Casa Vicens in Barcelona

Barcelona, located on the northeastern coast of Spain, is one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year. The city offers a unique blend of history, culture, architecture, cuisine, and vibrant atmosphere that captivates travellers from around the world. Barcelona is synonymous with the stunning architectural creations of Antoni Gaudí, a Catalan architect whose works have become iconic symbols of the city. In addition to Gaudí's works, the city features architectural gems by other Modernisme (a Catalan version of Art Nouveau) architects like Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Buildings such as the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Hospital de Sant Pau exemplify the movement's emphasis on ornate decoration and craftsmanship.

Structures that showcase Gaudí's unique style, characterised by intricate details, organic shapes, vibrant colours, and innovative techniques include the Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà (La Pedrera) and Casa Vicens.

Casa Vicens in Barcelona

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Casa Vicens is considered one of Gaudí's earliest masterpieces and is notable for its distinctive blend of architectural styles, including Moorish, Gothic, and Art Nouveau influences. The building was constructed between 1883 and 1888 as a private residence for stockbroker Manuel Vicens i Montaner, hence its name.

Casa Vicens - Gaudí's first home

Located in the heart of Barcelona, in the Gràcia district, Casa Vicens is the first masterpiece of Gaudí. As you step into the house, you will understand and appreciate Gaudí's visionary approach to architecture and his ability to incorporate elements of nature and local culture into his designs.

Casa Vicens was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2005. This recognition highlights its significance as one of Gaudí's early architectural masterpieces.

Casa Vicens - Barcelona

When we visited Barcelona, we set aside half a day to explore Casa Batlló, Casa Milà and Casa Vicens. While all three buildings showcase Gaudí's genius and reflect the spirit of Modernisme, they each have distinct features and historical significance.

Based on our experience, a typical visit to Casa Vicens may range from 1 to 2 hours, depending on your level of interest and engagement. You can either opt for the guide tours offered on site or go for a self-guided tour and explore the place at your own pace. We opted for the latter as we wanted time to soak in the ambience and also take photographs.

All visitors are handed a map/information brochure that has a map, a brief history of the house and the rooms. The entrance ticket also includes an audio guide (which is available in 15 languages and can be accessed directly on your mobile). This was useful as it gives more comprehensive information on this World Heritage site.

After being the summer house of Manuel Vicens, the house went into the hands of the Jover family who made it their home. In the subsequent years the house went on from being a single-family home to a multi-family residence with an apartment on each of the three floors. In 2014, the building was acquired by MoraBanc, a financial group based in Andorra, with the intention of converting it into a cultural and tourist attraction. Since then the building has undergone restoration work over years to return it to its original state and is designed now as a museum space where permanent and temporary exhibitions about Gaudí and his work are showcased.

As we walked through the house, from room to room, the vibrant colours, ornate decorations, intricate wrought ironwork and innovative use of materials led us on a discovery of the extraordinary universe of Gaudí.

Things to look out for on the ground floor of the house are:
- the architectural elements in the garden like the circular fountain and the gazebo.
- the cast iron grille which is shaped like the leaf of a fan palm (Gaudí taking inspiration from nature).
- the beautiful, covered porch
- the dining room which has original furniture and oil paintings by painter Francesc Torrescassana i Sallarès.
- the smoking room.

The smoking room is beautiful. Colourful and with papier-mache pieces covering the walls (see picture below), this room is one of the most unique in the house.

The ceiling of the smoking room at Casa Vicens

A part of the garden at the Casa Vicens (below).

The garden at Casa Vicens
The Covered Porch at Casa Vicens

The covered porch at Casa Vicens (above).

On the first floor are the bedrooms, the terrace, the blue room, the halls and the domed room featuring a Trompe l'oeil ('deceive the eye' in French) that reproduces a low angle view of the cupola rising to the rooftop.

The dome in the domed room at Casa Vicens (below).

The Dome in the Sitting Room at Casa Vicens

One of the bedrooms at Casa Vicens (below).

Bedroom at Casa Vicens

The terrace at Casa Vicens (below).

The terrace at Casa Vicens

On the second floor is the attic which has been returned to the open structure as designed by Gaudí. This floor also houses a permanent exhibition featuring Gaudí's works, information on the materials and techniques used in the construction of the decorative elements in the Casa Vicens and more.

Model of Casa Vicens

The rooftop of Casa Vicens is as colourful as the interiors of the building with beautiful towers and domes in the corners of the rooftop. These are said to be inspired by Oriental and Islamic architectural styles. This was the first accessible rooftop by Gaudí and is a lovely relaxing space from where you can look out over Barcelona.

Towers on the rooftop of Casa Vicens
The rooftop at Casa Vicens
The rooftop at Casa Vicens

The facade of the building is equally impressive and you can see the influence of various architectural styles. Plus, it showcases the beauty of the different materials used in its construction (the ceramics, stone, bricks, wood and forged iron). All different textures come together beautifully to create the stunning aesthetics (see below).

Exposed walls and tile work at Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens Facade

There is a gift shop/bookstore and a cafe on site. So, once you are done exploring the house, you can head to the cafe to grab a bite and then pick up something from the gift shop - a souvenir from Barcelona to remember your travels by.

We certainly recommend a visit to Casa Vicens. It promises an unforgettable experience, offering insight into Gaudí's early architectural vision and his enduring legacy in shaping Barcelona's iconic skyline.

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How to get to Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens is in the heart of the city, in the Gràcia district, with several transportation options depending on your preferences.

The Barcelona metro system is efficient and convenient. Casa Vicens is located near the Fontana metro station, which is served by Line 3 (green line). From the city center, you can take Line 3 toward Trinitat Nova and get off at Fontana station. Casa Vicens is a short walk from the station.

Barcelona has an extensive bus network that covers the city center and surrounding areas. Several bus lines pass near Casa Vicens. You can check the TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) website or use a transportation app to find the most suitable bus route from your location.

Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Cabify are readily available in Barcelona. You can simply hail a taxi or use a ride-sharing app to request a ride to Casa Vicens. The trip duration and cost will depend on your starting point in the city center.

But what we would recommend is walking! If you enjoy walking and the weather is pleasant, you can consider walking to Casa Vicens from the city center. It's about a 30 to 45-minute walk, depending on your starting point. Walking allows you to explore the streets of Barcelona and discover interesting sights along the way.

Whatever mode of transportation you decide on, before you set out, it's a good idea to check the opening hours and any travel advisories related to public transportation in Barcelona.

Casa Vicens | Carrer de les Carolines, 20-26, 08012 Barcelona
Email | [email protected]
Telephone | +34 932 711 064 

The facade of Casa Vicens

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