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Seville, are you coming to the fiesta?

This article is published in issue 37 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until 12 September 2023

It’s love at first sight. First you fall in love with the colours, the scents, the music: the sky changing like an opal, the golden glow of churches and palaces, the swirl of pastel tones of the rustling skirts ready to let loose in flamenco, the fragrances of flowers and oranges, the music, melancholy in song and overwhelming in dance, of the clapping of the hands that creates the rhythm and makes Seville enter your heart. And it’s forever.

If the most intense period of emotions to visit the city is usually April, the month of Semana Santa and Feria de Aprilthe most famous week of celebration in Spain (tourists arrive from all over the world), but there is also another moment in which Seville, magnificent all year round but often very hot and crowded, can offer something more: a second summer, from September onwardsto wander in milder temperatures in the narrow and mysterious streets of the Barrios, among baroque buildings, precious azulejo decorations and secret gardens to discover.

On the carousel at Calle del Infierno, a large temporary amusement park during the Feria de Abril in Seville. info: visitsevilla.es


The new Hotel Nobuin the central Plaza San Francisco, an elegant mix of Andalusian style and Japanese taste (sevilla.nobuhotels.com), is the ideal base for a peaceful visit to the main symbols of the city. As the Cathedral, Gothic and UNESCO heritage, where on 12 October (the national holiday) a wreath of flowers is placed on the tomb of Christopher Columbus; stands next to it Giraldathe bell tower that was once a minaret: go up there at sunset, the spectacle of the pinkish yellow roofs is priceless.
An immersion in shades that can continue in the Maria Luisa Park, whose ephemeral transformation into autumnal hues makes its beauty stand out even more. Inside you will find Plaza de Españawith an elliptical shape and a navigable canal, so imposing and metaphysical that it transformed into the planet Naboo of the second episode of Star Wars – Attack of the Clones. The Alcazar Palaceinstead, which welcomes the royal family during visits to the city, even in Tron of Swords it is a royal residence: that of the Martell house in Dorne.

Plaza de España

Jason Denning

On the other hand, Seville is the place where the border between reality and imagination is very thin: if you visit Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, with the oldest bullring in Spain, remember that this is where Carmen is killed by Don José in Mérimée’s story and in Bizet’s opera. And it is here, in the very Catholic Seville – it was the seat of the Inquisition – that the myth of the great unrepentant seducer Don Giovanni, inspiration for Mozart’s stories and operas, was also born. Don Juan Tenorio by José Zorrilla is set in the city and, on All Saints’ Day, you can take a tour of the opera’s settings, including Plaza de los Refinadores, where his statue stands out.

Don’t miss out too Palacio de las Dueñas, an architectural jewel and a treasure chest of art collections and memories of the House of Alba and of the last duchess, Cayetana, free and unconventional despite her over 50 noble titles. From here, after a stop in the imaginative world of The Exvotosa ceramics workshop where Andalusia, classicism and the East come together, you can proceed towards the Macarena neighborhoodto “meet” the popular Virgen de la Speranza, Madonna protagonist of the Semana Santa together with another famous statue, that of the Esperanza of Trianathe gypsy barrio beyond the Guadalquivir

The ceramics of The Exvotos (theexvotos.com).

This is the place to totally immerse yourself in the Andalusian spirit, among one flamenco show at the Fundación Cristina Heeren, the market and the tapas places, perhaps staying in the refined rooms of Casa De Triana Luxury Suites By Casa Del Poeta on Calle Betis, then stroll along the river and dine on the water from Mariatrifulca (mariatrifulca.com). Last touch to feel Andalusian? A sombrero by Fernández y Rocheideal for the Feria or for an Indiana Jones adventure.

the Mariatrifulca restaurant, on the Guadalquivir.

A piece of advice for those who want to wait for spring and go to the legendary Feria de Abril: book well in advance, finding a room can prove to be a quixotic undertaking. Personally, I participated in the last Feria and the experience is unforgettable: the flamenco dress that sways with every step and you already feel like you are dancing the Sevillana, the draped shawl, the hoop earrings and the large, majestic, straight flower on the head, a declaration of pride, they made me feel Sevillian.

The Vanity Fair correspondent in a flamenco dress by designer Pilar Vera (pilarvera.com).

Arriving by carriage to Feria, set up in the Los Remedios neighborhood in over 1,000 wooden casetas, among non-stop dancing, plates of fried fish and jamon, men and children in suits and ties, women and girls in evening or flamenco dresses, boys in costume on horseback, with the girls sitting behind, to the grouptoasting with Rebujito (wine diluted with a drink), I captured the fascinating complexity of the Sevillian spirit, passionate, cheerful, melancholic, with a strong sense of belonging and the ability to live the past as if it were the present.
Last piece of etiquette advice: the flamenco dress is only worn on Sundays. Put it on already on Saturday for the inaugural dinner of Fished that would be a terrible lack of style.

Kids at the Feria de Abril.

Source: Vanity Fair

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