Comillas

This astounding pocket of Catalan Art Nouveau architecture in the green hills of Cantabria will make you rub your eyes in disbelief. The Marqués de Comillas, a Catalan named Antonio López y López (1817–83), whose daughter Isabel married Antoni Gaudí's patron Eusebi Güell, was the wealthiest and most influential shipping magnate of his time and a fervent patron of the arts. He encouraged the great Moderniste architects to use his native village as a laboratory. Gaudí's 1883–89 green-and-yellow-tile villa, El Capricho (a cousin of his Casa Vicens in Barcelona), is the town's main attraction. The town cemetery is filled with Art Nouveau markers and monuments, most notably an immense angel by eminent Catalan sculptor Josep Llimona.

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