As one local journalist states: history has left us magnificent monuments, many of which remain unnoticed by tourists who hurries up to visit the “Mercado Central”, La Lonja and the Cathedral, to let some snapshots in the retina or the digital camera, and runs next towards Barcelona or Granada.
The Official Association of Tourism Guides of the province of Valencia and several companies in the sector, also agrees that there are lots of “unseen Valencia”.
Unnoticed monuments: The silence of “El Patriarca”
Among these places removed from conventional tours, the Patriarch’s College, with its austere decoration and its Renaissance and Baroque elegance is one of them. The closter takes inspiration on the family palace of the “Ribera famille” in Seville, named “La Casa de Pilatos”. Marble columns of Genova dance in circle over the exquisite ceramic base from Toledo. Everything calls us to keep silent and practice meditation. As the modest image of the Patriarch invites to us, reading the bible asking for rest
An old Hammam to relax
Another of the museums to take notice of are “Los Baños del Almirante” (Arab Baths), in the alley of the same name just behind the “Palacio de los Almirantes de Aragón”. This secret site houses an authentic “hammam” of the 13th century, similar to those which our guides have have witness in oriental cities such as Damascus or Aleppo, with its three isolated rooms, the hot-one for sweating, the warm-one for massage and the “peeling”, and the cold-one to give back the vitality to our muscles and bones. The building was open for 600 years with different functionalities, public baths since 1260, and as a gym to the middle of the last century, all of them saved it from disappearance.
Home and Museum of José Benlliure
The brother of the aforementioned sculptor Mariano Benlliure, Jose a modernist painter, lived next to the present River Turia’s Bed Park. The residents reflects the ambience of a local “bourgeois house” of the 19th century. The entrance hall the dining room, the office or the artist’s bedroom conserve antique furniture and pieces of ceramics that are part of the reliquary of the Benlliure’s family. In different rooms, pieces of art and paintings from an artists family, – José Benlliure, his son and his brother- are distributed, as well as paintings by the famous fine arts painter Joaquín Sorolla.
BAck to the house awaits to us the “patio” the painter’s atelier or studio, “one of the most outstanding secrets of the house,” says José Vicente, tour guide and former president of Local Guides Association of Valencia:”This space combines Roman eternal spirit and Valencian tradition mixing the tiles and the layout of vegetation”. To the midlle, a bust of José Benlliure supervises that the museum-home keeps fulfilling its mission of cultural and artistic driving role of Valencia, as had wished the daughter of the artist. “One can link the visit of the Benlliure’s Home with the entrance to Serranos- Towers and the Museum of Fine Arts San Pio V, to focus of history of Art in Valencia”, says Jose-Vicente
Entrance price only 1,50€
A Museum San Pio V, saving the distances
Walking across the river garden, the local, visitor or tourist actually might visit another gem of the city, the Museum of Fine Arts San Pío V, with its invaluable collection of religious painting from XIII-XIV cent, its Renaissance cloister from Palace of Ambassador Vich, and his excellent collection of modernist Valencian painting school. A Museum that probably os the third Spanish fine arts gallery which is scarcely known.