(HE)ART PLACES / BILBAO (BASQUE REGION, SPAIN) WHERE THE FUTURE HAS REGENERATED A CITY…

© PHOTOS: ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

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Bilbao (Basque region, Spain) is one of the most amazing cities of Europe. It had the courage to develop itself in a new identity based on culture and art. I had the pleasure to visit it a few years ago. And I was really astonished by a city where I had the sensation to walk in the future and in the past in the same time.

Its 700 years history can be seen in its buildings and constructions. The old town is an Historic-Artistic Monument and a reference point for reconstructing the city’s history from its beginnings. It is an example of urban regeneration, with more than 400 shops of all kinds. The city centre is an example of the best 20th century architecture, with buildings that have been housing the main institutions and companies in Bilbao for more than a hundred years. It is an outstanding architectural site, always designed by the best local architects. 

Nonetheless, the city continues to expand: alongside the skill of local architects, the top international firms are represented with works by Foster, Gehry, Calatrava, Isozaki, Pelli… I visited the incredible Guggenheim Museum, where I saw nice art installations and masterpieces (see the next second part of the post). Along the “Gran Via”, in the city centre, I admired a beautiful “open air” exhibition of seven Rodin sculptures, with the famous “Thinker”. In Bilbao culture and art become life. Despite the social problems of the region (autonomist movements), people are really friendly – but don’t call them “Spanish”, they are “Basques” – and conscious to be and to live in a city which walks in the future.

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