The quirky one-time abode of eccentric traveler Frederic Mares is now a museum devoted to his lifetime’s collection of artifacts – a fascinating space crammed with an eclectic array of curiosities. Open by Mares in 1948 to display his collection, the museum was bequeathed to the city after his death in 1991 and quickly gained acclaim as one of Barcelona’s most distinctive attractions.
If you’re looking for a glimpse into the lifestyle of Barcelona’s upper-class throughout the 20th-century, the Frederic Mares Museum, or Museu Frederic Marès, offers a unique perspective, including a range of daily objects like ticket stubs, train tickets, period clothing, pipes and handbills. The sculpture gallery, featuring a prominent collection of Hispanic works spanning the pre-Roman period to the late 19th century, is one of the most talked about exhibitions, including a fascinating series of polychrome holy carvings. Down the hall, the Sala Femenina gallery is devoted to the women of the era, with exquisite fans, combs and jewelry on display, alongside a dazzling selection of clothing and fashion accessories.
Other highlights include a number of antique dolls and 20th-century toys; a section dedicated to smoking paraphernalia and an assortment of old coins. That’s not all; carved crucifixes, antique clocks, historic cameras and walking sticks can all be spotted, and once you’ve marveled over the oddities within, the museum’s courtyard café offers a tranquil space to mull over your visit.