Historical figures, elite athletes, artists, filmmakers and writers have all walked and still walk through discreet Valencia, which hosts but does not reveal their secrets.
Almost 90 years later and we unravel and follow the steps taken by Ernest Hemmingway to the places he liked to visit in Valencia. The Nobel Prize winner spent several stays in the city in 1925, between 1936 and 1939 and lastly in 1959. His preference for the cafes and restaurants in the city centre, his passion for the Valencia bullring and for bullfighting, and, of course, for the Mediterranean Sea on the Malvarrosa beach, make up much of this itinerary.
According to his biographers, he arrived at the Norte Railway Station in 1925, and it was here in Valencia where he finished one of his main novels, “Fiesta”, as he explained to his father in a letter sent from the Post Office in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Hemmingway liked to frequent the antifascist Alianza de Intelectuales café between 1936 and 1939, from where he despatched his war reports to the North American newspapers he wrote for. Today the café is located in the Hotel Vinnci Palace, in the Calle de la Paz.
In the same street he frequented the “El Siglo” café, where he would meet with intellectuals of the age, such as John Dos Passos, and the café’s old sign that hung from the building’s façade is still kept in the café today. He stayed in the nearby Hotel SH Inglés on various occasions, with his first and third wife.
He enjoyed going to the Metropol cinema with Orson Welles, and in his beloved bullring, he would meet with the leading bullfighters of the age, such as Manolete, Cayetano Ordóñez and “El Litri”. Hemmingway also discovered delicious Valencian cuisine in this city, and his passion for paella led him to be a regular at the mythical “La Pepica” restaurant, where a large panel depicts a photograph of the author and an extract from one of his books where the famous restaurant is mentioned.
Valencia is a main point in his journeys around Spain and he declared this in the pages and references that he dedicated to the city, in works such as “The Dangerous Summer”, “For whom the bell tolls” and “Death in the Afternoon”.