Known by locals as "El frare blanc" (the white friar), this majestic "modernista" villa stands out on the elegant Avinguda del Tibidabo, in the neighbourhood of Sant Gervasi. Like a sweet inside its wrapper, its appearance is a treat for the eyes and the heir to the city's noble past.
The white walls of the Casa Roviralta capture the gaze of any passer-by. However, its nickname, "El frare blanc", doesn't come from the colour of its walls, but from the fact that the house was once owned by a community of Dominican friars, before being purchased by the Catalan businessman Teodor Roviralta.
The architect Joan Rubió i Bellver worked on the restoration of the building between 1903 and 1913, changing the appearance of this former farmhouse almost completely. However, Rubió preserved the original structure and layout of the farmhouse to lend the new "modernista" villa a traditional feel. The added features, including the veranda, gallery, magnificent roof space and the chapel, are markedly modernista in style, as are the hand-crafted details on the façade. The window and door frames were made of brick and ceramics and contrast sharply with the white walls. A sundial on one of the walls bears a Latin inscription reminding us of the passage of time.
The former home of the Roviralta family now houses a restaurant. Its dining rooms allow visitors to view an interior that retains many of the decorative elements of the "modernista" villa.
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