The neighbourhood of El Putxet is an often overlooked part of the city with a lot to offer.
At the end of the XIX century, the rich of Barcelona looked for places with a cleaner atmosphere to spend the summers. Beyond the town of Gràcia, there was a little hill (putxet in Catalan) that some chose as the perfect place to build grandiose mansions with splendid gardens. They were called torres because the architects of the time were quite fond of adding turrets to their residential buildings. Nowadays, El Putxet i el Farró is (broadly) comprised between Avinguda República Argentina, Carrer Claudi Sabadell, Carrer Balmes and Plaça Lesseps.
La Casa Tosquella
Located in Carrer Vallirana, 93, this modernist dream was built in 1889 and granted heritage protection status in 1974. That is how Maria Dolors Castells, its last tenant, prevented it from suffering the same fate as so many other buildings in the neighbourhood, which didn’t survive Barcelona’s wild real state market from the 90s onwards. After years of abandonment and neglect, the Ajuntament has begun its restoration to return it to its former glory.
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Jardins del Turó del Putxet
The park around the actual hill is a Mediterranean garden you can access from Carrer Marmellà. After climbing some steep stone steps, the 360-degree view from it is astonishing: a landscape that goes from the seafront to Tibidabo and Collserola, Montjuïch and far beyond the actual limits of the city, the Llobregat plain.
This quiet, hidden spot offers many possibilities: to walk around it and observe the vegetation, sit and rest or make it a day outing with children.
A story to be told
History and literature buffs are in for a treat in El Putxet: on Carrer del Putxet, there’s a private estate named Bosc Bertran, a two-hectare walled garden complete with a lake, cave, fountain, and centenary olive trees. During the Civil War, the writer George Orwell stayed in the house there, as the Marxist leaders of the POUM had requisitioned it.
Other artists and intellectuals also walked the streets of El Putxet, such as the photographer Otho Lloyd and his wife, the painter Olga Sacharoff, who introduced dadaism in Spain. They lived at number 3, Carrer de Manacor.
Time for a vermut
The Bodega Josefa, known to all as Ca la Pepeta (because Pepa is how Josefas are called affectionately), is a landmark in the neighbourhood. The woman who ran it supplied the community with ice when there were no fridges, dispensed canned food and wine in bulk and had a telephone her neighbours were welcome to use. Nowadays it is the perfect spot to have breakfast, vermut or a simple coffee. Their anchovies and braves alone are worth the visit.
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