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Janina Ramirez and Alastair Sooke discover Barcelona through its art and architecture, including the frescoes that inspired Miro and a surprising collection of vintage fans.

With sumptuous palaces, exquisite artworks and stunning architecture, every great city offers a dizzying multitude of artistic highlights. In this series, art historians Dr Janina Ramirez and Alastair Sooke take us on three cultural citybreaks, hunting for off-the-beaten-track artistic treats - and finding new ways of enjoying some very famous sights.

In this second episode, Janina Ramirez and Alastair are on a mission to get to know one of the most popular cities in the world through its art and architecture. Although Barcelona is famous for its exuberant modernista buildings, the Gothic Quarter and artistic superstars such as Picasso, Janina and Alastair are determined to discover some less well-known cultural treats. Escaping the crowds on the Ramblas, they seek out the designs of an engineer who arguably put more of a stamp on the city than its star architect, Antoni Gaudi. Alastair marvels at the Romanesque frescoes that inspired a young Miro, while Janina discovers a surprising collection of vintage fans in the Mares, one of the city's most remarkable but rarely visited museums.

With a behind-the-scenes visit to Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, a session of impromptu Catalan dance and Alastair adding the finishing touches to some Barcelona street art, it is a fast-paced and colourful tour of the city's art and artists, revealing how Barcelona developed its distinctive cultural identity and how the long-running fight for independence has shaped the artistic life of the city.

59 minutes

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:10

    The Easy Access Orchestra

    Go Team

  • 00:23


    Good Grief

  • 00:35

    Tiggs da Author

    Run (feat. Lady Leshurr)

  • 00:42

    Manu Chao

    Mala Fama

  • 00:51

    Manu Chao

    Sone Otro Mundo


Role Contributor
Presenter Janina Ramirez
Presenter Alastair Sooke
Producer Colin Rothbart
Series Producer Ruth Shurman
Executive Producer Richard Bright
Director Colin Rothbart


From fascism to fado: Five fascinating ways to discover Lisbon

From fascism to fado: Five fascinating ways to discover Lisbon

Janina Ramirez and Alastair Sooke take in the artistic highlights of Portugal's capital