La Bellesguard Tower is one of the lesser known works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, probably because it is a little out of the way from the more central Casa Battló or the Palau Güell; however it is certainly worth a visit.
History of the Bellesguard Tower
Built between 1900 and 1909 on behalf of the Guilera family - still the owner - the Bellesguard Tower is actually a villa, built in an area full of history. The land where the villa currently stands was the seat of the residence of the last King of Barcelona, Martí I, between 1408 and 1410, and the remains of the medieval palace and walls are still visible in the gardens of the villa. Gaudí knew the history of the area, and proposed a project that was respectful of his historical memory, showing his studies on Catalan Gothic. The technical solutions adopted are halfway between the neo-Gothic and modernism, with an extensive use of symbols and allusions to the past.
The Tower remained the property of the family who ordered its construction, but it has been open to the public in recent years: it is a little visited monument in an area with an enviable view - the name Bellesguard is not accidental - and the visit allows you to enjoy of a Gaudí monument without the excessive crowds typical of other places.
The architecture of the Bellesguard Tower
Gaudí thought that the medieval Gothic style was imperfect, or rather unresolved, and adopted technical solutions capable of improving it, in line with the fashions of the time. The application of the striped surfaces allowed the elimination of the buttresses, giving the entire structure a slender and vertical shape, accentuated by the turret on the roof and the reduction of the battlements. The architecture of the building integrates with the surrounding environment through the use of the local slate as a construction material, helping to give a very natural appearance to the joint.
The interior is characterized by a great brightness, in contrast with the austerity of the exterior, thanks to a large number of windows able to make the most of the external light, on the same model of the Teresian College, another neo-Gothic work by Gaudí. The use of Catalan vaults in the ceilings helps to provide a reference to the Gothic tradition, as well as some specific symbolic references, such as the covering of the turret with yellow and red trencadís, the colors of the Catalan flag. Many details enrich the symbolic themes of the place, such as the external mosaics by Sugrañes, a collaborator of Gaudí.
The Tower and the surrounding gardens can be visited in about an hour. Some rooms in the building are accessible only by stairs. In the area, in addition to Tibidabo, you can easily reach the CosmoCaixa, a science museum for children, in a few minutes on foot, or continue to the Monastery of Pedralbes, one of the jewels of Catalan Gothic.
How to get to the Bellesguard Tower
The Tower is located in Carrer Bellesguard, 16, in the Bonanova district, at the foot of Tibidabo: the most convenient way to get there is by metro, taking line 3 or 5 to the Vall d'Hebron stop; once you exit the metro, go down the street to stop 1019 (Vall d'Hebron - Av. Jordà), and take bus 60 (direction Av. Esplugues), to the Rotonda de Bellesguard stop. Once you get off the tower you have a one minute walk. Alternatively, you can get to the Av. Del Tibidabo metro stop, along line 7, and from there continue on foot for about 15 minutes. If you are traveling by tourist bus, get off at the Tibidabo stop along the blue line.
The Tower opens from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 until 15:00. The monument is closed on 1 and 6 January, 25 and 26 December.
The price of the full ticket (buy it from the official website) is € 9 and includes the audio guide: currently, however, it is not available in Italian; those under 18 or over 65 can pay a reduced ticket costing € 7,20; the same discount is available for those who have the touristic bus discount booklet. Children under the age of 8 can enter for free. There are also tours accompanied by a guide, every Saturday and Sunday at 11am in English, 00pm in Catalan and 12pm in Spanish. The cost is € 00 for adults and € 13 at a reduced rate, children up to 15 years pay nothing.