ALFALFA is a typical Sevilla neighbourhood, filled with narrow streets, independent businesses and fantastic tapas bars.
So fantastic, in fact, that Barack Obama couldn’t help but pay a visit last year after attending the WTTC Global Summit in April.
The former US president didn’t stick around to enjoy the string of late-night bars however, or check out the ever-growing Soho Benita area.
Alfalfa – literally meaning horse feed – gets its name from storing the stuff there during the Reconquest. However the barrio has been around since Roman times and once hosted a thriving silk market during the Moorish period.
Here are our highlights:
Casa de Pilatos
A palace which began construction in 1483, La Casa de Pilatos (Pilate’s House) serves as a permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli.
It has a stunning collection of tiles, including 150 different azulejo designs from the 1530s, designed by brothers Diego and Juan Pulido and one of the largest collections of the glazed Spanish tiles in the world.
It is considered a shining example of Italian Renaissance building with Mudejar elements and decorations and is seen as the prototype of the typical Andalucian palace.
You will most likely see nuns walking by, with a convent practically next door.
Iglesia de San Ildefonso
En route to the Casa de Pilatos, take a detour to Plaza de San Ildefonso where you will find this church of the same name.
Completed in 1841, the typically red and yellow structure boasts a neo-classical style and was the work of noted architects Julian Barnecilla and Jose Echamorro.
Sitting pretty in pastel pink, this stunning church was completed in 1712 before undergoing a major refurb in the 2000s before being reopened in 2008 – by King Juan Carlos I no less.
The upgrade included building a small museum behind the gorgeous main altarpiece. It mostly features works from local 17th century artists and other relics of the past.
Made up five streets, this up-and-coming mini neighbourhood is Sevilla’s answer to London’s Soho.
It’s packed with independent shops, selling clothes, furniture, artwork, jewelry and more.
It most recently welcomed a gourmet restaurant and ultra-modern hotel and also features an urban art gallery. Read more about the area here.
Birthplace of Velazquez
Tucked away on calle Padre Luis Maria Llop is the birthplace of iconic Spanish painter Diego Velazquez.
Built before the maestro’s 1599 birth, its tiny door and windows point to a much shorter population in the 1600s.
It is hoped the 16th century will be turned into a museum about the painter.
Tejas de Dulces
If you want a great souvenir from your trip, head to this little biscuit shop on the outskirts of the neighbourhood on Plaza de Jesus de la Pasion.
It sells extremely fine and truly delicious homemade Sevilla biscuits in several different flavours – orange, coconut, pistachio, coco and more.
They are placed in lovely packaging, including large tins which can be kept once you’ve eaten them all. They also make great gifts.