The plantà on March 15th seems like a magical occurrence. Just as on Christmas morning, when children come downstairs to find presents under their tree, Valencians come onto the streets to find gigantic monuments erected all about their city. We visited the Ciutat Fallera, where a community of artists work as hard as elves, all year round, creating the monuments of Fallas.
Initially, I thought it was a nickname, but Ciutat Fallera is an actual neighborhood in Valencia, located in the northwest of the city. This is the traditional home of the gigantic Fallas warehouse-workshops. The artists who work here are generally friendly, but you’re likely to get a different reception if visiting immediately before Fallas. As the deadline looms, the teams are extremely busy, and have no time to entertain curious tourists.
Knowing this, we showed up a month before the beginning of the festival, when many of the monuments were reaching a general state of completion, and before the artists were beginning to freak out from the pressure. As a result, we were able to spend time chatting with a couple of them. They told us about their family histories, with fathers and grandfathers who had been in the same line of work, and showed us binders full of pictures of previous creations. When they’re not working on Fallas monuments, these guys are often hired to craft more permanent figures for museums or theme parks.
After you’ve visited the warehouses, don’t miss the Museum of the Union of Fallas Artists, which preserves some of the lucky ninots that have been saved from fiery destruction during the Cremà. The museum also has photos from the beginning days of Fallas, so you can see how the figures have evolved throughout the years. Time your visit so that you’re finished around 2pm, and then grab lunch at the restaurant next to the museum. The menú del día is excellent value, and popular among the artists of the Ciutat Fallera.
Location on our Map: Museum of the Union of Fallas Artists