The neighborhood of Sant Antoni is one of Barcelona’s most up-and-coming areas. It’s popular among locals for its central location, local atmosphere, and variety of affordable bars and restaurants. Although it’s just a few minutes away from the bustling center by foot, Sant Antoni is a more relaxed neighborhood with its own unique character and charm. Here’s a brief look at the history of the Sant Antoni neighborhood in Barcelona and where it fits into the city today.
Related article: Discover the Neighbourhood of Sant Antoni
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The neighborhood of Sant Antoni gets its name from the Church of Saint Anthony that once stood in the nearby Raval neighborhood. The first development Sant Antoni goes back to the 1800s when the city of Barcelona began expanding from the old medieval town out towards the Eixample district. The neighborhood is now located entirely within Eixample, forming the district’s bottom corner. It stretches between Plaça Espanya and Plaça Universitat, in the shape of a triangle wedged between Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes and Paral·lel.
The development of Sant Antoni started with the Mercat de Sant Antoni, the neighborhood’s famous marketplace that remains one of the oldest and most popular markets in Barcelona today. It was designed by architect Antoni Rovira i Trias and constructed between 1872 and 1882. At the time of construction, there were very few other buildings in the area near the market.
The neighborhood really began to develop in the 1920s and 1930s when construction began on most of the buildings that can be seen in Sant Antoni today. The development of the neighborhood was part of a huge wave of changes in the city around the time of the International Exposition of 1929. Throughout the 20th century, Sant Antoni was known as the working class neighborhood of Barcelona. In recent decades, however, it has undergone a great deal of gentrification that led to its current status as one of the most popular neighborhoods in Barcelona today.
Related article: The Restoration of Sant Antoni Market
Sant Antoni Today
Today, Sant Antoni is one of Barcelona’s trendiest neighborhoods. It’s a popular place to live for its quiet atmosphere and central location. The vibe of the neighborhood is relaxed and local, with plenty of great tapas bars and cafés with outdoor seating. Although the famous marketplace is currently undergoing restoration work, there’s a popular secondhand book market that takes place outside the building on Sundays.
While Sant Antoni might not be the oldest neighborhood in Barcelona, it’s an area that grew and developed with the city. It’s a great place to relax, explore, and experience the local atmosphere of one of Barcelona’s most charming neighborhoods.
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*Main photo by Places & Activities via Visualhunt