Virtuoso Life - January/February 2018 - 136
used as a parking lot, now ringed with cafés, boutiques, and art galleries.
Most travelers to Seville while away their
days wandering quiet lanes flanked by
parks and palaces with orange-tree-shaded
courtyards. Tradition calls for taking in a
bullfight or a flamenco performance - or, if
you're visiting in April, participating in Feria de Abril, a weeklong festival of drinking,
dancing, and socializing. But take a detour
from the main sights to where the old city
gives way to modern, bustling plazas and
wide streets, and something more awaits.
Do spend time in Barrio Santa Cruz, a romantic tourist hub filled with horse-drawn
carriages, flamenco halls, and atmospheric
tapas bars decorated with autographed photos of bullfighters. Then go exploring. Young
entrepreneurs are nudging one of Spain's
most traditional cities into the twenty-first
century with contemporary food, fashion,
and art. Here are three neighborhoods popular with locals, all within walking distance
of hotels in the historic center.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: ALFALFA/ENCARNACIÓN
The Metropol Parasol, nicknamed Las Setas (Spanish for "the mushrooms") due to
the parasols' shapes, dominates an artsy
enclave that occupies parts of the Alfalfa
and Encarnación neighborhoods. Explore
the archaeological museum and indoor food
market on its lower levels, then take the
elevator to the rooftop for a sense of what
German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann
had in mind when he used the sixteenthcentury Seville Cathedral as inspiration for
the parasols shading the plaza below.
Back at ground level, walk along Calle
Pérez Galdós for a look inside shops and galleries owned by a group of arts-minded entrepreneurs. Pick up a city map at Un Gato
en Bicicleta, a cozy café, bookstore, art gallery, and pottery studio, where owner Raquel
Eidem turns out playful sculptures and gifts
such as tiny ceramic pins resembling Scrabble tiles. Across the street, modern art gallery Delimbo carries works by Spanish and
international artists. Find dresses by local
designers next door at Isadora and wallets
made from Spanish cork around the corner
at Verde Moscú, a fair-trade cooperative
specializing in sustainable fashion.
Past View, which is headquartered in the
Metropol Parasol, puts a new spin on the
historical walking tour with virtual reality.
With smart glasses and a touch pad, visitors
follow a guide, viewing video reenactments
of what life was like in Seville from the days
of Roman and Arab rule through to the
Market Finds and Nouveau Tapas
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: EL ARENAL
Close to the Guadalquivir River, El Arenal
draws tourists to a Sunday outdoor art
market outside the Museo de Bellas Artes
de Sevilla. Artists originally sold traditional
Spanish paintings, but that's changing as
more choose to showcase contemporary
arts and crafts. I was tempted to take home
one of the small Don Quixote sculptures Angelo Giovanni creates on-site from scraps
of metal, glass, and wood. But napkin-size
sketches by Manuel Fernández, a young artist who uses watercolors and india ink to
tell stories with whimsical line drawings,
proved easier to fit into my carry-on.
Gravitating to the neighborhood are young
chefs experimenting with "gastro tapas,"
new twists on the traditional Spanish small
plates. With help from our guide, arranged by
Valesa Cultural Services, a Virtuoso on-site
tour connection in Spain, we found Cinco
Jotas, a modern bar near Seville's bullring,
owned by Spain's top producer of Iberian
Seville, new and old, from left: Isadora boutique, Un Gato en Bicicleta, and the Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla.
V I RT U O S O L I F E