Overview: San Vicente is a good place to get a sense of Renaissance Seville, although the neighborhood also reflects other eras, especially in... more »
San Vicente is a good place to get a sense of Renaissance Seville, although the neighborhood also reflects other eras, especially in... more » its memorable churches and convents, one of which is now the fine art museum.
This neighborhood stretches along the river, and was already active during Muslim rule, as parts of some of its churches will attest. But its glory days came in the Medieval and Renaissance eras, when it became the favored neighborhood for noble mansions, whose facades still line the streets. Scattered among the mansions are galleries filled with antiques and contemporary art. Be sure to allow time to browse in galleries and shops in between seeing the sights.
But it’s not all high-brow art and culture: along the route are typical tapas bars and, at the end, a truly special experience: a convent where the cloistered nuns bake and sell cookies and pastries. less «
Wear comfortable shoes to make walking the stone streets less tiring.
Especially in mid-summer, take a hint from the locals and tour ... more »early in the morning or later in the afternoon, taking a long break during the mid-day heat.
The Museum of Fine Arts could take a half day on its own, so instead of touring its many galleries first, consider returning later to do it justice.
Only the major churches are included here, but you will pass others. Opening hours are not always consistent, and some are open only at Mass times, but check as you pass them, to make some discoveries of your own. Visitors can enter before and after Mass to look around discreetly. less «
If you see only one baroque church in Seville, this should be it, considered the outstanding example of Andalucían baroque. Its cupola and roof are covered in colorful ceramic tiles, and one façade is decorated by blue sundials.
The original Gothic church of the Dominicans was completely updated between 1691 and 1709 into the... More building we see today, the work of Spanish architect Leonardo de Figueroa. The interior is divided into three naves, over which rises an octagonal cupola which lights the space below. Another cupola, in Mudejar style, tops a side altar.
The main altar is a riot of baroque ornamentation, and dates from the early 1700s restoration. Highlights of the art include a 1612 Crucifix by Francisco de Ocampo in the chapel to the right of the main altar, paintings by Lucas Valdes and his school, and two by Zurbarán: “Historias de Santo Domingo en Soriano” and “La Curacion de San Reginaldo de Orleans,” in the Capilla Sacramental, the chapel just to the right of the entrance.
To the left as you enter, is usually the 17th-century figural group representing the taking down of Jesus from the cross, which is carried through the streets during Semana Santa (Holy Week) by robed and hooded penitents of the Quinta Angustia brotherhood.
Monday-Saturday 7:30am-11am & 6:30-9:30pm
C San Pablo
Phone: +34 954 229 603Less
The early-17th-century Convento de la Merced (Merced Convent) was repurposed in the mid-1800s, to house art works from convents and churches that were sold during renovations or closures. But continuing modernization projects since then have made room for a vast collection that now encompasses works from the Medieval period through the early 20th ... Morecentury.
It is particularly strong in works of the Seville School from the 15th to 17th centuries, paintings by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Francisco de Zurbarán, Valdés Leal and Francisco de Herrera the younger. Zurbarán’s “Virgen de las Cuevas” (Virgin of the Caves) is one of the top highlights. It also displays works by Spanish artists El Greco, Velázquez, Pacheco and Alonso Cano, and the collections as a whole are considered among the best of any art museum in Spain.
The building itself, which was begun in 1602, is a fine example of the Mannerist style as interpreted in this part of Spain, with galleries spreading around three large courtyards. Although the building is 17th century, the gallery spaces are well-lighted and designed to show off the collections.
Sunday and holidays 9am-2:30pm
Plaza del Museo 9
Phone: +34 954 786 500Less
Opposite the museum, this antique shop specializes in art nouveau, art deco and retro jewelry, along with antique lace and other textiles, fine furniture, silver, paintings and fine arts.
Monday-Friday 10am-1:30pm & 5pm-8:30pm
Plaza del Museo 4
Phone: +34 954 560 128
Beginning at the Plaza Museo, Calle San Vicente heads north into the heart of the neighborhood. Although a very narrow street, it is lined by noble mansions of the 18th and 19th centuries. Be sure to look up on both sides of the street to see their grilled windows and the balconies, both open and enclosed in the traditional style to afford ladies ... Morea view of the street without being seen.
Galería San Vicente at Number 31 (+34 954 908 424) and Nuevo Arte at Number 32, are both galleries showing works of contemporary Spanish artists. The latter specializes in works on and of paper, including oil and acrylic paintings, graphics and photography.
Nuevo Arte Hours:
San Vicente 32
Phone: +34 954 915 668Less
The parish church of San Lorenzo faces a shaded square, its bright pink facade contrasting vividly with the gray stone Mudejar-Gothic tower behind it.
The church’s 18th-century main chapel was designed by Diego López Bueno, and the high altarpiece is the work of Martínez Montañes. Look especially for paintings in the... More tabernacle by Francisco Pacheco, the sculpture of Our Lady of Carmen and the large wall painting "Virgen de Rocamador."
Plaza de San Lorenzo
Phone: +34 954 23 4465Less
Despite its location off the usual tourist routes, Eslava is no secret. It’s a local favorite and the few others who find it blend into the crowd that invariably fills its tables. If there are no seats in the café or dining room, enjoy inexpensive tapas at the bar, where the chalkboard list - like the long menu - is entirely in Spanish.... More Seafood includes just about everything that swims, from razor clams and delicate coquinas to sweet peppers stuffed with salt cod. Pork dishes, Solomillo in dill sauce and Costillas glazed in honey, are especially popular.
Tuesday-Saturday 12:30-4:30pm & 9pm-midnight
Clle Eslava 5
Phone: +34 954 90 65 68Less
The only access to the vast complex of this former monastery would be easy to miss, were it not for the bright red and yellow of its small 17th-century doorway. The rest is tucked away with no visible clue except occasional glimpses of the top of its 13th-century crenelated tower.
Behind this small gateway lies a leafy garden with a fountain, a... More two-story cloister, dormitories, the church, and a refectory lined in decorative blue tiles. Throughout the monastery you’ll see examples of most of the city’s artistic periods, from the Islamic styles to the height of Spanish baroque in the 17th century.
The site was originally occupied by the palace of the Arabian prince, Don Fabrique; it became a monastery after his death. All but the courtyard and tower were eventually replaced by Gothic buildings, deisgned in the Arabic revival – or Mudejar – style.
After the last monk left in 1998, the city began a 3.5 million euro restoration. Although work continues, the complex was opened to visitors in 2010. In the course of this work, wall murals dating from the 13th to the 18th centuries, which had been covered by plaster, were uncovered and preserved.
The 15th-century church is in Gothic and Mudejar styles, with a Mudejar style coffered ceiling; be sure to look up, as more beautifully coffered ceilings are in the cloister and elsewhere. In the church, the lnmaculada and the San Juan Evangelista are thought to have been designed by Seville’s baroque master, Martínez Montañés.
A Gothic portal leads to the only remaining part of the original palace, the tower built in 1252, with three vaults sections set on a square base. Inside the tower are displays of archaeological finds discovered during the restoration. The restored convent is used as a cultural center, hosting exhibitions and programs.
Tuesday-Sunday 10:30am-2pm & 5:30-8pm
Calle Santa Clara 41
Phone: +34 954 787 578Less
Calle Santa Clara ends at the formidable walls of the large Convent of San Clemente built by Alfonso X (1221-1284). Part of it was restored as exhibition space for Expo 92 and opened to the public. Another part is still an active cloistered convent.
The church, open to the public, is a fine example of Mudejar architecture and decoration. It... More features intricate wood carving in the ceiling and fine tile work, both from the 16th century. Other highlights are the Baroque main altarpiece by Felipe de Rivas and 18th-century frescoes by Valdés Leal.
San Clemente is one of the few convents in Seville where the nuns bake and sell cookies and pastries to the public through a quaint and thoroughly charming process that protects their cloistered privacy. To buy cookies, go to the entrance at Reposo 9, where you will find a list with prices, and a bell next to a large lazy Susan built into the wall. In response to the bell, a nun will speak to you through the grating, and you tell her what you want (Piñonadas - pine nut cookies – and Pastas de almendra – almond cookies -- are good choices). She packages them and puts them on the turntable, from which you take them and replace them with the money. If you need change, it will come back to you. This is a wonderfully local experience that few tourists know about, well worth the walk to the end of the San Vicente neighborhood.
Monday-Saturday 10am-1pm & 3:30-5:30pm
Church: Calle Santa Clara 91
Convent: Reposo 9
Phone: +34 954 378 040Less