The two Venetian Towers (Torres Venecianes in Catalan or Torres Venecianas in Spanish), situated at the foot of Montjuïc Mountain and now one of the city’s iconic monuments, form part of the architectural legacy left to Barcelona by its 1929 International Exposition.
With square cross-sections and completely symmetrical with each other, the two Towers were built between 1927 and 1928 by the architect Ramon Reventós, who was also responsible for other monuments and constructions that date back to the 1929 International Exposition and that still very much form part of Barcelona’s urban scenery, such as the nearby Plaça d’Espanya, Poble Espanyol and the Teatre Grec.
The Venetian Towers were given this name because their design was modelled on the Campanile of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. However, it’s not an exact replica and their dimensions aren’t the same, as the Venetian Towers are 47 metres high and 7.2 metres each side, as opposed to the 50 metres of height and 12 metres side of the Campanile of St Mark’s Basilica.
The initial idea was that the Venetian Towers would be demolished after the International Exposition, so the materials used weren’t of the finest quality (artificial stone for the bases, stone bricks for the rest of the building and wood and copper at the top). The decision to leave the towers standing after the Exposition, as well as the fact that cheaper materials were used for its construction, has meant that a considerable amount of maintenance has had to be carried out since on both of the towers.
Unfortunately it’s not normally possible to go inside the Venetian Towers or go up the 200 steps to the highest point. It’s only open to the public on special occasions, such as to celebrate the Barcelona Architecture Festival – 48H Open House BCN, thanks to which we were able to go inside in October 2014.
As well as serving an ornamental purpose and marking the entrance to the International Exposition, the towers were also given a more practical use, as the access point to the Exposition was set up at the West Tower, and a speaker was installed at the top of the East Tower, which was used to transmit information to the Exposition’s visitors. It’s still seen as a reference point and a welcome area, both for visitors to the various attractions that Montjuïc Mountain has to offer and for those visiting any of the trade exhibitions that take place at the Fira de Barcelona.
Av. Reina Maria Cristina / Pl. Espanya, Barcelona.
It’s not possible to go inside the towers.
How to get there?
Metro: Espanya (lines 1 and 3).
Renfe and FGC: Espanya.
Busses: Lines 13, 23, 37, 50, 65, 79, 91, 109, 165, H12, H16 and Tourist Bus.
On foot: You’ll be able to walk from the Montjuïc district, or from Poble Sec or HostaFrancs.