In Spain (and Barcelona is no exception) it is normal for buildings to be constructed around patios (light and/or ventilation shafts). These patios can be narrow and plain, or quite large and ornate. They can be found in the middle of a building or to a side of it, but also at its entrance, and in some cases it serves as an inner garden or courtyard. Come, let me show you…
A delightful former palace that can be found on La Rambla, not far from the Cute Suite, is Palau de la Virreina. These days it is an exhibition center, centered around photography, and offers high quality expos. As a former palace, it is naturally quite grand, and has more than one patio. As you enter its large doorway you will first encounter the main patio (above) which is very grand and beautiful, and a couple of steps behind it, a much plainer one (below).
The grand one is where the former owners would have presided any important acts that took place at ground level; the patio behind it would have served no other purpose than to provide light and ventilation to the rooms that surround it.
The buildings that surround Plaça Reial use the square as a courtyard, but also have several patios, some of which serve as passageways to enter and exit the square. One of such passageways is Passatge de Barcardi, which I posted about here, and another is Passatge de Madoz (above). The building encloses all 4 sides, and obtains light and ventilation from this patio, which has archways at both ends to allow people to make their way from Carrer Ferran to Plaça Reial.
At times, the patio serves as a courtyard, as is the case at the General Archive of the Crown of Aragón on Carrer de les Comtes (above), a lovely building just a few steps from the Cathedral. The courtyard is accessible to the public and a very pretty mix of old and new. Do check it out if you are in the area – I’m sure you’ll love it.
Not only palaces have patios, my home has two in fact (which you can see if you visit the Cute Suite) but other residential or office buildings around town have them too, such as this building on Plaça Urquinaona (above) which houses mainly offices.
Patios or courtyards can also be found at the entrance of a building, and even not be enclosed by the building in question on all 4 sides. An example of this, is the building above, which houses council sports facilities (including a swimming pool) as well as a cafeteria and a beauty center.
Below, one of the more beautiful light and ventilation patios that I have seen so far. You too can see it, as it is found in the same building as the remains of the Roman temple for Augustus which I posted about recently, here. I love the balconies richly draped with plants, and also the top of the walls, which resemble steps.
I hope you enjoyed these patios, and wish you a delightful weekend! I’ll be back on Monday with a very special recipe.