The neighbourhood of Sant Antoni is home to some of Barcelona’s coolest cafes, bars and art spaces. Parlament Street alone hosts some of the best spots for a Sunday afternoon vermouth (Vinito cellar), Saturday morning brunch (Federal Café) as well as delectable donuts at any time of the day (La Donutería). But what may be considered the real jewel in its crown is the Sant Antoni market, an 1872 construction by Antoni Rovira Trias that’s currently undergoing restoration. Despite its fenced surrounds and construction workers busy onsite to restore the space that will see around 250 stalls, the Sant Antoni market restoration is well worth a visit to get a glimpse of some of Barcelona’s architectural splendour.
History of the market
The creator of Barcelona’s grid-like layout, Idelfons Cerdà, was the one who devised the original plan for the Sant Antoni Market. The market was designed by municipal architect Antoni Rovira Trias, and built by Maquinista Terrestre i Marítima (Land and Marine Engineering Company). One of the city’s biggest markets, its location was strategically positioned in front of the Sant Antoni gate of the old city wall, due to its busy activity. Construction began in 1872 and it opened in 1882 by the Mayor Rius i Taulet. The restoration of the market will see its historical features retained.
Archaeological finds during the restoration
Fascinating archaeological discoveries have been made during the market’s restoration works, adding to the knowledge bank of Barcelona’s history. One of these finds has been parts of Via Augusta, which was a first-century road linking Cadiz to Rome. The Barcelona City Council describes the traces of road found at the site as being a valuable collection of the past due to difficulties in finding the original road as a result of repairs damaging the former Roman route. Another historical find has been the discovery of mausoleums and funeral monuments, including those made of bone and ivory. A Roman sculpture representing a teenage boy that most likely was part of a funeral monument was also uncovered.
While the Sant Antoni market is under restoration, stallholders are working from a temporary location that’s located right next door at C/ Comte d’Urgell 1, Ronda de Sant Antoni, 18. Inside you’ll find a huge range of food stalls with fish, meat, fruit and vegetables as well as a second large undercover area with clothes, shoes and other household items. The temporary market has its own Sant Antoni market blog as well as more details about what’s on offer to be found on the Sant Antoni market website.