It should come as no surprise that the most popular sport in Valencia is football. This is Spain, after all. Of the twenty teams in La Liga, Spain’s First Division, three are from the Comunidad Valenciana (at least in the 2015-16 campaign). And two of these are based in the city itself: Valencia Club de Fútbol and Levante UD. We attended a Monday night derby between them.
Once upon a time, not actually all that long ago, Valencia’s historic center was bordered to the north by the Turia River. Although it was normally a benevolent presence, the Turia was given to sporadic fits of rage. And after a deadly flood in 1957, Valencia decided to remove the threat once and for all.
The unofficial sport of Valencia is pilota, a type of handball played in long halls known as trinquets. This fast-moving game is like a mix between volleyball and tennis, but looks a lot more painful than either of those.