Cosa vedere a Valencia

What to see in Valencia, the city of Calatrava and the Holy Grail

Madrid she has chosen the role of capital and noble mother of the kingdom. Barcelona is trying to free itself from the nightlife to become an outpost of Nordic-like Europe. But with our feet in the Mediterranean. Valencia instead he dared more: he chose to bet on the future. To then show the pride of her past. Third city of Spainwith eight hundred thousand inhabitants and two thousand years of history – first the Romans, then the Moors and then the Aragon – but for decades synonymous with cheap paella and sleepy provincial life, it is today one of the capitals of international tourism – among the top ten in Europe – with a recovered historic center and a series of events worthy of a real capital. And to the question what to see in Valencia the answer is: many things.

What to see in Valencia: the deviated Turia river

Not bad for a city that many Spaniards only remembered for the tantrums of its river, the Turiawhich in 1957 did what, more or less the Arno did in Florence in 1966. It is remembered as “the grand riada»Of 1957 and saw the muddy waters reach five meters through the streets. There were billionaire deaths and damage but when the mud cleared there was a hope and a promise: it must never happen again.

No sooner said than done. The capricious river was diverted away and a gigantic one was born in its dried up course urban park. In that eight-kilometer green strip that was previously blue, the new Valencia began to blossom: starting with City of Arts and Sciencesicon of the archistar Calatravanow opens the Jardin del Turia.

It is from here that you need to start to discover the city, perhaps by renting a bicycle and wandering among palm trees and orange trees, fountains and plants touching the Parque de la Cabecera and the Bioparc – a zoo of the new millennium – but also returning children: a must is the Gulliver, a crazy expanse of slides where children, new Lilliputians, climb and slide along the fingers, hair and legs of this gigantic figure of 70 meters. But then just go on and even more adult children will be able to please the immense aquarium of theOceanogràfic or in Palau de les Artsboth in the Ciudad de las Artes y las Cienciasthe city within the city designed by Santiago Calatrava And Félix Candela in the mid 90s.

The colors of the Mediterranean in a building

For architecture enthusiasts it is a complex of five structures that host thematic areas dedicated to art, science and nature and that exploit the white of the concrete and the contrast between the light and the water of artificial ponds to mention the colors of the Mediterranean. Tourists, more simply, put it at the top of the list of what to see in Valencia. For all the new symbol of the city.

What to see in Valencia

What to see in Valencia: the new mixes with the old

But we said it: the city has looked forward to rediscover its yesterday. So, resuming the journey in the Jardin del Turia it is fun to count the bridges that once spanned the water: there are eighteen and range from the centuries-old ones to those designed the day before yesterday. In a continuous contamination between modern and ancient that hardly regrets because everyone finds what he is looking for in the long list of what to see in Valencia.

A gratification for the eyes that is also achieved when you return to the heart of the city: that is, in Carmen neighborhood. Here history is calculated over millennia. Among the ancient circles of walls winners and losers, Christians and Arabs alternated and each one left a mark and a memory among the labyrinthine streets and aristocratic palaces. The only advice to find out is not to follow the advice and wander past the medieval gates of the Quart Towers and of Towers of Serranosstopping here and there between calle de Roterosthe plaza de la Reina and the calle de Caballeros. This, at least until the sun is up. Then, Valencian magic, everything is transformed and this network of stones and open spaces becomes the overwhelming core of the nightlife.

Tapas and nightlife in the historic center

Follow the crowd and smell the air: you will find the right place to experience fish tapas and get familiar with the wines of Utiel-Requena. So, with due slowness, there is time the next morning to continue the discovery of the center of the old city, perhaps stopping at the El mercat. The name does not deceive: here is the historic market. Its iron, crystal and ceramic domes have stood out since 1839 and since then people have lined up to buy fish and vegetables but – remember – here we are in Valencia. New and old play together. The stalls are traditional ones: but you can buy online and the goods arrive at home.

What to see in Valencia

What to see in Valencia: the cathedral and its stories

Instead we continue and go south towards the splendid Silk Exchange, a Gothic jewel also blessed by Unesco. A little further on, still, Plaza del Ayuntamiento and other squares where the Valencians give themselves appointment. But before returning to the park or even better, going to discover the beaches, you need to dedicate some time to Cathedral: its layers are almost a history book.

Here there was a Roman templethen one mosque finally, from 1238, the cathedral was commissioned just after the reconquest from the Moors but the style is certainly not defined. They mix Romanesquegothic and Spanish baroque. The usual lovers of mystery then remember that here, in a side chapel a special cup is kept: it is said to be the Holy Grail, the chalice of the Last Supper. Obviously no one knows if it is true but in the end it matters little. Devotion does not seek confirmation: but an emotion. The same one experienced by attending a ritual, absolutely secular but no less noble, which takes place every Thursday of the year at noon in front of the Door of the Apostles. And this has been happening since 1200.

Here eight very serious characters dressed in dark exercise justice with an oral trial in the Valencian language whose sentences are final. And the Tribunal de las Aguas and the subject he deals with is water management and no one dares to smile at it. Valencia loves the future and builds concrete spaceships. But he takes things from her past seriously. Perhaps because she has understood that today without yesterday she is struggling to become a better tomorrow.

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