It was 1897 when Barcelona annexed the nearby town of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles and that same year, the Catalan doctor Salvador Andreu designed the Tibidabo Avenue on paper. Urbanization imagined and carried out following the typical garden city model of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with large neoclassical homes and landscaped areas that attracted the wealthiest families in the city.
Tibidabo Avenue, a walk through the Barcelona of Yesteryear
Dr. Andreu, famous for its cough drops, lived at number 17, house that would become embassy of the Soviet Union in 1936; as a neighbor he had Enrique Granados, the Lleida composer who had built an audience at home, which was then dubbing studio.
Not long ago, in 2014, Glòria Soler presented L’avinguda secreta: Un llegat històric al peu del Tibidabo (The Secret Avenue: A historical legacy at the foot of Tibidabo), which indicates the importance of the area in a city that has grown over more than hundred years, in an orderly way at some points, artistically in many other and totally chaotic in others. On Avenida del Tibidabo, we could say without fear of contradiction that the second option is the right one.
Over the decades, however, these homes of the Catalan bourgeoisie of the XIX and XX have been forgotten and becoming very different spaces. Today, walking along the avenue is no longer synonymous with luxury and contrast, but embassies, residences, schools or fancy restaurants.
There we find the Roviralta House, better known as Frare Blanc, a property of the Dominicans, which is now a restaurant (specifically, El Asador de Aranda), or the number 1, which belongs to another, even more familiar: the ABAC, a two Michelin stars restaurant.
A sign that the elegance of the Tibidabo Avenue has not lost its attractions is that every weekend the Tramvia Blau travels the full Avenue to join John F. Kennedy Street and the Tibidabo funicular. A great option to feel like you’ve stepped back a century!
There are buildings with medieval airs, such as Fornells House, next to the Arnús House, where we imagine the wonders Sagnier i Villavecchia project surrounded by pines, whose restoration ended, with the help of ASEPEYO Foundation in 1991.
Somehow, to visit the Tibidabo avenue is to visit another world; a Barcelona that was integrated into the constant bustle of the city, the squared neighborhoods of Eixample, but in this case joined in a different way, more secluded, more like a neighborhood, and is still there, showing its century majesty.