Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Spain according to Woody Allen
Famous director Woody Allen was in no doubt. After many visits to Spain he fell under its charm and chose cities such as Barcelona and Oviedo to shoot his latest film, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. Now it is your turn to discover the landscapes and monuments he chose as settings, and relive scenes featuring actors such as Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson. Discover Spain through the eyes of an artist.
After portraying emblematic cities such as Paris and Manhattan, there was no doubt in Woody Allen’s mind when he used various destinations in northern Spain for his latest film. These were Barcelona (in Catalonia), Oviedo and Avilés (both in Asturias) – cities where the film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is set. They are all wonderful places, and even better in reality, you can be sure.
It is no coincidence that the filmmaker chose Barcelona and even included the city in the title of his film. He himself has stated that when he was writing the script, “I wasn’t thinking of anything other than creating a story that had Barcelona as a character. I wanted to honour Barcelona, because I love the city very much, and I love Spain in general. It’s a city full of visual beauty and the sensibility of the city is quite romantic.”
There are many parts of this Mediterranean city that appear like postcards in the film, and that you will be able to recognise. If you like art, then don’t miss the works of architect Gaudí in Barcelona, many of which have the UNESCO World Heritage designation. The Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Güell Park, where a scene with Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall was shot at the lizard-shaped fountain, or the original rooftop of “La Pedrera” House that Cristina and Vicky (Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) visit, are just a few of the best examples.
Allen’s film shows that Barcelona is synonymous with a varied cultural agenda, with the appearance of the Joan Miró Foundation, the Catalonia National Art Museum and Barcelona Airport with its mural by Miró. In addition to all these places, if you want to feel the romantic, bohemian, fun atmosphere of Barcelona, we would recommend other locations that feature in the film such as the Tibidabo Amusement Park (with stunning views of the city), the Olympic Port and Las Ramblas, one of Barcelona’s most emblematic avenues, that you will love for its traditional flower stalls.
Modernism is particularly present in Barcelona with emblematic architecture such as the Sagrada Familia cathedral, Güell Park, or the Casa Milà, "La Pedrera" house, all by Gaudí. There are also numerous buildings and creations by other Modernist artists throughout the city.
The next city that is particularly dear to Allen is Oviedo. The director has been there many times, especially since he was awarded the Príncipe de Asturias Prize for the Arts. It is interesting to know that in the very centre of Oviedo (opposite San Francisco Park), there is a statue of the artist with his characteristic glasses and a plaque with his own words: “Oviedo is a delicious, exotic, beautiful, clean, pleasant, tranquil and pedestrianised city. It is as if it did not belong to this world, as if it did not exist ... Oviedo is like a fairy-tale.”
This is the atmosphere Allen tried to reflect in the film and which you will experience for yourself if you head up to the city’s Naranco Hill. In this green area (where Penélope Cruz gives Bardem a massage in one scene from the film) you can visit important pre-Romanesque churches - Santa María del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo and San Julián de los Prados - all part of the Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of Asturias, which have the UNESCO World Heritage designation. There are other places you can try and recognise, such as Hotel de la Reconquista (where Allen himself stayed) and other typical establishments in the city.
As a final piece of advice, we would recommend you do not miss Avilés, just 35 kilometres from Oviedo. This was where some of the film’s most romantic scenes (between Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall) were shot, and it portrays spots such as San Juan Lighthouse with the sea in the background, and Ferrera Park, where the characters attend an exciting flamenco show.
Come and live in person the delightful aesthetics and charm that Allen captures in the film. Come and immerse yourself in the Mediterranean sensuality of Barcelona and the landscapes of Oviedo, ideal for bike rides. See how the warm sun to be seen in the film is a reality.
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