We found Sevilla fantastic: it has a great value cultural heritage made of imposing churches and palaces in the Arabic style, but it’s also a nice and funny town above all for children, thanks to the carriages with horses circulating along the streets, to the several green areas and to the flamenco that fascinates adults and children! So Sevilla is a destination suitable to family travels and it could be the right choise even to a winter tour, thanks to its mild climate.
Seville is a flat town you can visit safely in every corner for a time of 2/3 days at least. We only had two days and half, but we did it anyway, considering that we had the stroller for Giada: every time she needed, she could sleep, while we continued our foot tour! (Giada was at that time 5).
HERE WHAT WE VISITED IN 2/3 DAYS
Sevilla is divided into barrios, that is neighbourhood, areas in which are the most touristic attractions.
In Barrio de Santa Cruz, picturesque heart of the town, is the Cathedral with Giralda, the Real Alcazar, the archivio delle Indie and the famous Calle Sierpes, the street of shops and cafes. The Barrio de Santa Cruz also hosts the Hospital de Los Venerables Sacerdotes, the little white church of Santa Maria la Blanca and the Casa de Pilatos.
Near Guadalquivir river are the neighbourhoods Triana and El Arenal where is the fine arts palace (Palacio san Telmo), the bullring (Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza) and the golden tower, Torre del Oro: right in this area are boats and ferries that everyday offer the opportunity to do a panoramic tour to see the town from another perspective.
In Barrio della Macarena live together ancient and traditional buildings, such as the Basilica della Macarena and its arch, with ultra modern structures such as the beautiful Metropol Parasol in Plaza de la Encarnacion.
In the big green lung of Sevilla is the park “Parco di Maria Luisa” which hosts the semicircular and amazing Plaza de Espana, de America and some museums.
THE HISTORICAL CENTRE
Sevilla is a town we immediately liked: very different from Granada, smaller and cosy with its hills and typical locals. Sevilla, on the contrary, is a quite big town: in the historical centre there’s a great movement of people, even in the late evening, and a lot of restaurants and bars where you can eat tapas. A warm atmosphere with carriages and horses and a lot of green areas.
The tours on carriage are maybe those attractions that permits to have a general view over the town sitting comfortably, and attract so much children! I have to admit they’re quite expensive (50 Euro per carriage for 15 minutes tour – prices 2012), but how to give up? Giada herself couldn’t wait!
BARRIO DE SANTA CRUZ
Suggestive neighbourhood, closed between the Real Alcazar and the Cathedral, was a ghetto under tha Arabian: here, after the Reconquista of the XIII century, there was one of the biggest jewish community in Spain. Part of the neighbourhood is characterized by buildings in Baroc style.
Cathedral “Santa Maria de la Sede” with Giralda
Declared from UNESCO World Heritage: one of the biggest churches in the world next to San Pietro in Rome and to Saint Paul’s cathedral in London. It took the place of the mosque built by the Almohadi dinasty at the end of XII century, witnessed by the Giralda, the minaret transformed into a bell tower, and by the Cortile delle Arance.
Outside we liked the cathedral very much: a wall crowned with battlements, very refined, that impressed us immediately; a church with a so wide plant that recalls the old mosque. Happy for such a beauty, we decided to pay to visit it also inside: we remained disappointed! We found it exactly like the Cathedral in Milan: so beautiful outside, but disappointing inside. I remember a quite dark atmosphere composed by five naves in the Gothic style, and from two chapels, Mayor and Real. In the first one there’s an altarpiece in the Gothic style, one of the biggest in the world, where at the centre there’s the famous Virgin de la Sede, patroness of the Cathedral, while the second one is reserved to the religious functions and hosts the mortal remains of the three kings of Castiglia. The cathedral conserves important artistic treasures in the side chapels, along the big naves, and containes Cristoforo Colombo’s monument supported by four big allegorical figures representing the reigns of Aragona, Navarra, Castiglia and Leon.
After conquering Sevilla, the Arab people built a fortress on the remains of a Roman fortress. When in the XII century the Almohadi took power, they made the building they found wider, and the spanish kings who lived here after the Reconquista made the same thing.
Jewel of the complex, entirely surrounded by battlements, is the Real Alcazar, masterpiece of the mudejar art, built by Pedro el Cruel in 1364 as “love nest” for Maria de Padilla; the upper floor is nowadays riserved to the spanish sovereigns.
The palace bears the signature of famous moresque architects coming from Toledo and Granada, sent to Seville by Maometto to thank Pedro for his help to take the throne. Similar alliances between Arab and Christian sovereigns weren’t unusual at the time of the Reconquista.
Surely a visit to this monument can’t be skipped, keep into consideration at least three hours to visit the whole complex, gardens included, an oasis of peace inside the Real Alcazar: pond and fountains, flowers, hedges, bushes and trees form a park that is partially of a moresque inspiration, partially of Reinassance, with benches that invite to a stop. Moreover a very nice little labyrinth.
For costs and guided tours hours, visit the official site (we visited it without guide as our daughter Giada was a little brat). sito ufficiale
casa de Pilatos
The Casa do Pilatos was built in honour of the duches Medinaceli, who erected with this house a monument to themselves. The first one Marques di Tarifa built the palace at the beginning of XVI century, returning from a pilgrimage in Holy Land. Probably the name “Casa di Pilato” derives from the fact that Marques wanted his residence looking like Ponzio Pilato’s praetorium in Jerusalem. During his travel he passed from Italy taking home columns and fountains made of Carrrara marble. Its structure is composed by several wings, courts and gardens. The colonnade is a stuccoed filigree, tha walls are covered with azulejos in every shape and colours, and at the centre is a beautiful fountain.
At the angles of the main cloister there are four big statues brought here from Italy. The figure of Pallade Atena dated back to the V century a.C..
Going up to the upper floor, we are impressed by the marvellous flight of steps, I think made of marble, by the the walls completely full of coloured tiles with thousands geometric shapes and, over our head, by an amazing wooden coffered dome. We often met this kind of domes and tiles during this travel; they’re typical of the Islamic art in Andalucia. Rooms are rich of furniture, paintings, porcelains and tapestries.
You have to pay to entry to this palace, 6/8 Euro (prices 2018) depending if you want to visit just a floor or both, but it’s surely to do, above all if you are lovers of the Arabian architecture. For the opening hours and farther info, here the site!
BARRIO DI TRIANA AND EL ARENAL
The Barrio of Triana and the one of Arenal were popular neighborhood inhabited by sailors, port workers and economically disadvantaged social classes, but anyway rich of tradition and culture. This area seemed to us very nice and quiet with a delicious andalusian atmosphere. Maybe it’s the presence of the river Guadalquivir that leaves us this sense of relax and peace. We reached this place in the evening when everything was so romantic!
Right near this magical banks rises up the golden tower, Torre del Oro: it’s a dodecagonal tower erected around 1220 and formed the extremity of the Almohadis’ walls. The name ” golden tower” derives from the fact that the original capital was covered of golden azulejos. In the tower is the Museum of Naval History.
Down at the river, where at the golden past of Seville the galleons leaving to America were anchored, nowadays are ferries that offer panoramic tours, like the one we did, that we absolutely suggest. First because if you have children, they can have relax for a while, second because you’ll live a romantic Sevilla, surrounded by a warm atmosphere! You can see some attractions from another perspective, until you’ll reach the beautiful Isabel II’s iron bridge; the most modern part is maybe a little bit boring, but in the meanwhile you can relax yourself enjoying the fresh air of the evening!
Moreover, the past social life revolved also around the religious events and around the passion for the bullfights. Famous for this last one reason is the square Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, one of the oldest arenas that can host until 14000 spectators. We skipped this part, or better, we saw the buildings only from outside: we didn’t pay to enter for our ethical issue.
BARRIO OF MACARENA
It’s the most popular but also the less touristy neighbourhood of Sevilla, with old white houses, little patios with azulejos and narrow streets.
This barrio gives the name to the church” Basilica della Macarena” that is officially called “Basilica di Nostra Signora della Speranza”: it’s a modern and bright chapel where is revered the Virgin de la Macarena, masterpiece by Pedro Roldan belonging to the half of the XVII century; the Virgin is dressed with very precious mantles. To the Right of the church is the door “Puerta de la Macarena”, erected in 1713 and adorned with modern azulejos.
Close to the Barrio de la Macarena is the Alameda de Hercules, a square where at the centre are the two Roman columns with the statues of Ercole and Caesar, this last one very appreciated in Sevilla because he founded the town again, and made it more beautiful with a lot of monuments.
This square, that today are full of young and tourists, bars and locals, in the past was the most ancient public park in Europe, when most people were inside the walls of the big noble people closed to the public. Today unfortunately its tree-lined avenues have disappeared: we found just a few trees and the column I was talking about before, coming from a Roman temple.
Very modern and really very peculiar architecture, the Metropole Parasol is the last art creation in Sevilla finished in 2011. It’s a wooden structure with natural materials, at the moment the widest in the world, built by the German architect Jurgen Meier; a kind of perforated umbrella that allows the air to flow, giving a refreshingly sheltered area to this square, Plaza de la Encarnacion, which hosts some archaeological remains in the Antiquarium, under the Metropole itself, a fruit and vegetables market and some bars. We found it something very original and special: youcan go up to adimre the square from above!
THE GREEN LUNG OF THE TOWN
Maria Luisa Park and Plaza de Espana
Maria Luisa Park is a very good area to have a rest from the town, and where children can freely run or have a snack. This wide park of Sevilla, dedicated to the Duchess of Montpensier, who in 1893 left the area as inheritance to the town, invites to long walks on foot or to ride a bike. It was fixed by the French Forestier with rare plants (magnolia, cedars, sycamores) oranges and tangerines, fountains and monuments.
Open everyday from 9 to 22 with free entrance.
At its centre the wonderful and very peculiar Plaza de Espana, unmissable destination in Sevilla, very colourful and adorned as I’ve never seen in a square. It has a semicircular shape and was projected by the architect Anibal Gonzalez: the materials he used, recall the Moorish-andalusian architectural tradition.
On the basement of the construction each of the 52 spanish provinces represented a scene of their history on azulejos tiles. Many Iberoamerican expo pavilions of the 1929 adorne the park.
Plaza de Espana and Maria Luisa Park have a distance of about 1.5 km from the historical centre and are reachable by underground and by bus, or on foot like we did: here below I’ll show you our walk.
We left from Puerta de Jerez, went through Avenida Roma passing close to Hotel Alfonso XIII, the best luxury hotel of the town, to the University that in the past was a tobacco farm, to the Palacio de San Telmo. Taking then Avenida Maria Luisa, you’ll find the theatre Lope de Vega, a great spanish writer. At that point you’ll have reached the Park.
It’s right outside the town, at about 5 km on the island Isla de la Cartuja, which hosts the omonymus monastery, some Expo ’92 pavilions and various visitable buildings: as we didn’t go there, I’ll leave you a link to get farther info about this area. link di approfondimento per questa zona.
Moreover you’ll find the fun park Isla Magica suitable for children, but we didn’t visit it because we think that such a fun park could be seen everywhere. Anyway if you are interested in this kind of attraction, I’ll leave you this link: ISLA MAGICA
Our favourite Flamenco – “La Carboneria”
A thing Giada and us liked so much was the evening dedicated to the typical music of Spain: the Flamenco that cannot miss during your stay in the town.
There are many locals that offer Flamenco shows, but they’re quite expensive (about 25 Euro per person – prices 2012); some persons suggested us this informal but very nice local, “La Carboneria” where the show is free, drinks are also free and you can have a general idea of that kind of art. It won’t be so typical like El Tablao in Plaza Santa Cruz, but you can have the most authentic and heartfelt Flamenco, and it’s cited from all touristic guides. Huelva Ocho is another place where you can see Flamenco.
As the show is totally free, it’s better to arrive on time: we arrived at about 8.30 even if the show starts at 22.
Our favourite restaurant – La Sacristia [Calle Mateos Gago, centre town]
I’d like to show you other restaurants, but the first evening we went here by chance, while the next evenings Giada wanted absolutely this one and nothing else! In effect we had dinners with very tasty tapas (Giada’s favourite was the Tenera alla Cerveza) at very good prices: if I remember well about 15 Euro for 3 persons all included! The food quality was very good!
This tour is part of an itinerary in Andalucia where we also visited Granada: here below the article.
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THE MEANING OF TRAVEL FOR ME
In the last years I follow what Dalai Lama says:” At least once a year go to a place you’ve never been before”.
After years of sufferings and sacrifices, I’ve decided that life is too short and too unpredictable to continue waiting to do what I like and what makes me happy.
I like exploring the world where I live, take photos of it in general but also in its details, film it to hold back those subtle emotions that you could forget over time, and in the end share with you what I’ve seen and felt through my articles.
Travel is for me Love – Freedom – Gratitude
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