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  • Via Sepulcral Romana. Barcelona

MUHBA - Museu d'Història de Barcelona - Via sepulcral romana

The Plaça de la Vila de Madrid, located very near La Rambla and the Plaça Catalunya of Barcelona, is well worth stopping to see. Surrounded by buildings with elegant façades, the square contains the most important burial site from the Roman city of Barcino. An area of the old town, Ciutat Vella, which reveals the city's Roman past.

The Plaça de la Vila de Madrid was laid out in the 1950s, on a site formerly occupied by the convent of Santa Teresa de les Carmelites of Barcelona, which had been destroyed in 1936 by a fire caused by the bombing raids on the city during the Spanish Civil War. Subsequent building work uncovered an ancient Roman necropolis which was then landscaped. A raised walkway was added years later overlooking the seventy tombs dating from the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD. A unique opportunity to find out how the Romans built their cemeteries outside the city walls, in rows along paths, like a procession bringing them closer to the afterlife. The stone tombs in the necropolis have different shapes: rounded ones, or cupae, urns and stelae.

The Plaça de la Vila de Madrid is also home to one of the city's most important cultural institutions: the Ateneu Barcelonès. Housed inside the Palau Savassona, the unique surroundings are the result of work done by the architect Adolf Florensa in the 1950s and 1960s in the understated style typical of the 19th-century houses in the area. A fountain in the square, surmounted by Lluís Montané's marble sculpture of a woman, reminds us of Francisco de Goya's paintings of the Majas. A discreet plaque pays tribute to the victims of the Madrid terrorist attack of 11th March 2004.

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