The artisan espadrille shop in Barcelona that has internationalized the ‘espardenyes’

old city It was always the soul of Barcelona. In the tangle of alleys that are squeezed between Las Ramblas and Via Laietana —that avenue that at the beginning of the 20th century was opened by crushing part of the Gothic quarter so that the new districts could better connect with the sea— there was always an entire ecosystem of artisans and merchants who manufactured to sell here to whoever passed the shop windows. Since the time of medieval Barcelona and very probably since this was Barcino, here there were hatters, knife makers, boat makers, rope makers, sword makers and many other guilds that not only gave their names to many of the streets in the center but also unique character to a neighborhood that until very recently still preserved its historic chandlery and haberdashery intact.

It is no illusion that Ciutat Vella, harassed by the excess of visitors who prefer to buy a Mexican hat to a handmade pamela, is irremediably losing its soul. There are only a handful of stores with wooden counters and clerks in white robes, workshops, manufacturing workshops and, ultimately, the entire panoply of native commerce that has always characterized this corner of the city.

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