Carme Ruscalleda and Raül Balam Ruscalleda will be the Casa Vicens 2024 ambassadors

They will be named ambassadors of the Gaudí heritage site on 22 May, which is also Saint Rita’s day.

In the course of this year, Gaudí’s first house has been sponsoring a new initiative, the figure of an ambassador, a well-known public figure who through their profession transmits the outstanding values that characterise the museum-house: boldness, closeness and excellence.

This year, the ambassadors will be Carme Ruscalleda and Raül Balam, two national and international benchmarks of Catalan gastronomy thanks to their creative and local-flavour cuisine.

This new initiative will be presented on the occasion of the traditional celebration of Saint Rita’s day at Casa Vicens in order to help to project the museum-house’s values everywhere.

On Saint Rita’s day, Carrer Carolines is swamped with roses for a good cause.

Once again, this year, Carolines Street will be hosting different activities to celebrate the holiday of the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes. First of all, the church of the Filles de la Caritat de Sant Vicenç de Paül, located at number 16 in the same street, will open its doors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and where the traditional Mass of Saint Rita will be said at 10:30. After that, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., the blessing of the roses will take place in the garden of Casa Vicens in different sessions. There will be a stall selling roses and candles for the occasion in front of Casa Vicens between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The proceeds will go to the “La Terrasseta” charitable restaurant and dining room project spearheaded by the Rauxa Association, a non-profit organisation based in the neighbourhood of Gràcia which works to provide treatment against dependence on alcohol, smoking and other drugs.

This year, Florestudio Bcn will be in charge of the floral decorations

This year, Florestudio Bcn will be taking care of the floral decorations, which can be seen on 22 May only. It features different sizes of roses, from the very small to the very large. There will also be different combinations of textures, such as red velvet and a cloud of olive trees and umbellatum (Star of Bethlehem).

These are Mediterranean floral species which give this day a touch of magic and devotion all of its own, straddling both the popular and more religious aspects.

An award-winning holiday

Last year, Casa Vicens received the Barcelona Turisme recognition for its patronage of Saint Rita’s day. More specifically, and as part of the Barcelona Sustainable Tourism award, the museum-house merited the Good Practices 2023 Recognition for promoting the sustainability of cultural and natural heritage and traditions.

The history of Saint Rita and Casa Vicens

The link between Gaudí’s first house and the celebration of Saint Rita’s day dates back to the second half of the 18th century, when there was a convalescence care home run by the Barefoot Carmelite Monks of Saint Joseph (“Josepets”) on the ground where Casa Vicens stands, in what is now Plaça Lesseps. These Carmelites, surprised at the rapid recovery of many people with different ailments who had drunk from the fountain in the grounds, decided to dedicate a space there to Saint Rita, the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes.

In 1886, just one year after building work on Casa Vicens was completed, these carbonated waters were declared a public service and began to be marketed. However, it was not until 1927, when Casa Vicens was extended, that the decision was taken to build a chapel to house this natural fountain. The chapel remained a part of the grounds of Casa Vicens until 1946, when some of the plots of land lying between the chapel and the house were sold. The chapel was therefore separated from the Gaudí property.

The plot of land was ultimately sold off in 1963 and the chapel was demolished to build a block of buildings on the corner of carrer Carolines and Avinguda de la Riera de les Cassoles.

An undying tradition

The Herrero-Jover family, which lived in Casa Vicens between 1899 and 2014, decided to open the garden every 22 May to uphold the tradition. The locals flocked there to celebrate the day and to drink the fountain’s natural mineral and medicinal waters. So although the chapel is no longer there, the tradition of Saint Rita lives on in the neighbourhood’s memory. For this reason, after Casa Vicens was refurbished, turned into a museum and opened to the general public in 2017, this commitment of keeping the tradition alive and of remembering Saint Rita every 22 May has been honoured.

More information about Santa Rita 2024

Discover Casa Vicens, never-before-seen Gaudí

The first home by the great architect of Modernisme. Declared Unesco World Heritage.

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