If you are one of those who visit the areas of a city that are recommended by travel guides and specialised magazines, pay special attention because today we are going to talk about one of those corners of Barcelona that is always part of the list of “places that you cannot miss”. Today we are going to get to know in depth the beautiful square of San Felipe Neri (Sant Felip Neri in Catalan).
Located in one of the most authentic areas of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter – within walking distance of our central Petit Palace Boquería Garden hotel (and about 15 minutes from Petit Palace Barcelona and Petit Palace Museum) – the Plaza de San Felipe Neri is considered one of the most beautiful and authentic squares in the city and also one of the most historic. What makes it a tourist attraction of great interest?
Its uniqueness, the starting point
Although it may seem an almost closed plaza, San Felipe Neri is one of the most visited squares in the city precisely because of its unique shape and its narrow and totally original access. Furthermore to get there you have to get lost in the alleys of the Gothic quarter and cross those medieval-looking bridges that are found all over this part of Barcelona.
Its lighting (limited by its own layout) and the constant sounds of the water that comes from its central source, make it a place to take a break before continuing to discover this beautiful district of Barcelona. It was the place where the great Antoni Gaudí found peace.
Victim of the Civil War
Beyond its strategic location, the many Renaissance houses that surround the perimeter, the claim of being built on an authentic medieval cemetery (the bishop’s Montjuic cemetery), the Plaza de San Felipe Neri has gone down in history as the protagonist of one of the most famous episodes that Barcelona endured during the Spanish Civil War.
And it is that in this small space in Barcelona – in the year 1938, that a bomb exploded that lead to the death of more than thirty children. Such was the impact caused by this explosion that still many remains of shrapnel in the main wall of the Church of San Felipe Neri can still be seen.
A corner for the craftsmen
The Museum of Footwear in Barcelona is the main example of what this plaza was, for years, an attraction for the craftsman of the capital. And it was the official headquarters for both the guild of shoemakers and Boilermakers.