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The Asturian Museum of Fine Arts

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The incredible Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias is smack dab in the middle of Oviedo, just meters away from the Cathedral. Filled with modern and classic works spanning centuries, a visit is indispensable, especially considering the happy fact that it’s free.

Altarpiece-of-Saint-Marine

The museum, which opened in 1980, occupies two of the city’s most important historic buildings: the Palacio de Pedro Velarde, which houses the museum’s classic masterworks, and the Casa de Oviedo-Portal, with a collection of modern art. We recommend starting at the former, through its entrance on Calle Santa Ana, to proceed in a chronologically correct way through the museum’s artwork.

The modern art, with a heavy emphasis on Asturian works, is alright, but the museum’s real treasures are found in the Palacio Velarde. Dalí, Picasso, Sorrolla, Goya and more. We were impressed by El Greco’s series of the Twelve Apostles arranged around a large column, and also liked the massive Altarpiece of Saint Marine, which depicts twelve scenes from her life and six from the Passion.

The museum is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside, and is set to expand even further in the near future, with construction already underway on five additional buildings. Expect to spend a couple hours, to get through all the rooms.

If you have even a passing interest in art, make sure to check out the museum during your stay. Actually, even if you don’t have interest in art, you should go. Should you be so disinterested that a free museum filled with works from Spain’s greatest masters doesn’t entice you, you need to work a little on your cultural awareness, anyway.

Location on our Oviedo Map
Official Website

Wood Monster
Stone Doll
Wood Astronaut
Marbel Angel
Disco Ball Painting
Fine Art Museum Oviedo
Day @ the Beach
Art Critic
Asturian Painter COLORS
Sneak Peek Painting
Museo Bellas Artes Oviedo
El Greco Oviedo
Jesus 3D
Lady Boy
Shadow Fish Painting
praying
Steeling from the Blind
Santa Marine Mirror
Sant Marine

Art in the Reina Sophia Museum in Madrid

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September 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm Comments (4)

Villaviciosa – Capital of the Cider Region

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Looking for a hotel in Villaviciosa?

Welcome to Villaviciosa, the Vicious Village, where nightmares are reality and your screaming only makes the villagers thirstier for blood!

Puking Baby

Man, was I disappointed to learn that Villaviciosa’s name actually translates to “Fertile Valley”. Vicious Village would be so much cooler! The capital of the Comarca de la Sidra, Villaviciosa’s fertile valleys (sigh) make it the biggest cider-producer in Spain. We visited out the city after our tour the Sidrería El Gaitero.

Villaviciosa is not big, but definitely has its share of small-town charms. There’s a quiet plaza with a statue dedicated to apples, and we ventured inside the Santa María de la Oliva, a beautifully preserved church from the 13th century. There was a mass going on, and after the churchgoers gave us sufficiently annoyed glares, we left them alone, and went to find food at one of the many local sidrerías.

Combined with our visit to the Gaitero factory, this was a full day, and we left without exploring the surrounding area. In addition to the town, Villaviciosa’s beaches are supposed to be really lovely.

Location of Villaviciosa on our Day Trips Map

Apple Statue
Gaita Villaviciosa
Musica Villaviciosa
Villaviciosa Santa Maria
Villaviciosa Cathedral
Iglesia Villaviciosa
Wild Pig Villaviciosa
No Heads
Men Only
Happy Spanish Opa
Romantic Villviciosa
Seerose
Self Golden Shower
Cider Region Spain
Ayuntamiento Villaviciosa
Misty Villaviciosa
ciudad Sidra
Cute Villaviciosa
Artist Villaviciosa
Oldtimer Villaviciosa
upside down sign
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September 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm Comments (2)

Parque del Campillín

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An oddly-shaped park on the southern side of the city, the Campillín is the second largest green area in the city center, behind the Campo de San Francisco. To be honest, though, it’s less a “park” than the side of a hill outfitted with paths and benches.

In the middle ages, blacksmiths practiced their craft in the Campillín, and in 1829 it was shuttered up after having become a place of rampant prostitution. During the Civil War, the park was completely destroyed. It’s only recently been renovated, and now host a popular flea market on Sundays with second-hand clothes, toys, films, books, and any other type of junk you might care to imagine.

This being Oviedo, there are also plenty of statues in the park, including one of the author Ramón Pérez de Ayala, who was born in a nearby building. His most famous work is “Belarmino y Apolonio”, a 1921 novel analyzing transcendental doubt and the religious soul, available for free download if you’re really have nothing better to do.

Although the Campillín isn’t as beautiful as San Francisco, it’s worth passing through when you find yourself on that side of the city. Perhaps after a big meal at the nearby Yantar de Campomanes.

Location on our Oviedo Map

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September 8, 2010 at 1:08 pm Comments (3)

La Plaza de Daoíz y Velarde

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The Plaza de Daoíz y Velarde is a quiet, tree-lined plaza which offers a respite from the noisy marketplace and cafés of the adjacent Plaza Fontán. Especially when bathed in the late afternoon sunlight, it’s a beautiful place and home to the city library, a palace, a legendary fountain and, of course, a statue.

Plaza de Daoiz y Velarde

The library building began life in 1665 as the Teatro de Comedias, lending a classic atmosphere to the endless shelves of books about Asturias, comics, DVDs and an oddly popular reading room. When we visited on a sunny Monday morning, it was completely full with old men reading newspapers. Never heard of the internet, guys?

Next to the library is the Palacio del Duque del Parque, a Baroque construction with an exquisitely detailed facade. Today, it’s privately owned by the Marquis de San Feliz, meaning visits are impossible, which is too bad, but also means that marquises still exist, which is awesome. A smaller building diagonal to the palace, with reliefs of horsemen and jockeys, was the former stables. Between the two, down a gated flight of stairs, is a curious little fountain.

The cañu de El Fontán is the subject of a popular legend. The water exits a spout very low to the ground. When an overly haughty knight visited Oviedo, the citizens would ask him to drink from the cañu. The only way for him to do so, was to kneel and bow his head. I can just imagine the medieval townspeople chortling over their demonic wit.

Location on our Oviedo Map

Canu de El Fontan
Palacio del Duque del Parque
Palacio del Duque del Parque
City Library
The City Library
Vendedoras

Also Visit Plaza del Riego in Oviedo

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September 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm Comment (1)

Plaza del Riego

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Found near the historic seat of the University of Oviedo, the Plaza del Riego is a small, triangular shaped plaza in the center of the city, which buzzes with activity from morning until evening, when its outdoor terraces are consistently packed.

Plaza del Riego

Formed by the streets of Ramon y Cajal and Peso, the plaza owes its name to the Asturian military hero Rafael del Riego, a general who led the 1817 revolution against an incompetent King Ferdindand VII. The revolt was successful and, after the king was imprisoned in Madrid, Riego became the Asturian delegate in a short-lived constitutional period. Unfortunately, France and other European monarchies didn’t like the idea of a Republican Spain, and soon sent in armies to restore Ferdinand VII. Riego was sent to the gallows.

Before renaming it honor of their fallen hero, ovetenses referred to this area as the Plaza de la Picota, or “pillory”. It was here that lawbreakers and heretics who ran afoul of the inquisition would be punished. The sculpture in the center of the plaza is an archaic meteorological column, which holds the bust of Rafael de Riego and a plaque honoring his achievements.

Location on our Oviedo Map

Riego Oviedo
Rafael del Riego
Cafe Bar Oviedo
Historic Oviedo
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August 26, 2010 at 9:44 am Comments (5)

Oviedo’s Statues: Maternity

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Columbian artist Fernando Botero has an instantly recognizable style. Plumpness, I suppose it could be called. Plump animals, plump objects, plump prisoners and, above all, plump women.

Naked Oviedo

One of Oviedo’s best statues is Botero’s La Maternidad, found in the Plaza de la Escandalera. A woman, hugely fat but also strikingly beautiful, looks to the right while her happy, fat infant plays on her knee. The proportions of the woman’s body are wild, with massive legs and hips supporting a relatively lithe upper body. Her breasts are small and pert, and her hair tied back into a long ponytail.

Despite her obesity, the feeling conveyed is one of health, with its clearly loved and well-nourished infant. Maternity an exuberant celebration of life, paying tribute to the joys of motherhood, and there can be little wonder that it’s one of the most popular of Oviedo’s many statues.

Happy Baby Oviedo
Fernando-Boterol
Fernando-Botero-Oviedo
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August 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm Comments (7)
The Asturian Museum of Fine Arts The incredible Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias is smack dab in the middle of Oviedo, just meters away from the Cathedral. Filled with modern and classic works spanning centuries, a visit is indispensable, especially considering the happy fact that it's free.
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