The dragon on the roof
With a little imagination, it looks like a giant reptile has landed on Casa Batlló’s roof. Gaudí could have been depicting the legend of Saint George and the dragon. The tower with its cross may have represented the sword with which George killed the beast. Whereas the skulls on the façade recall the victims of the murderous dragon. Another explanation is that the exterior symbolises the spirit of carnival. In this interpretation, the roof represents a jester’s hat, the balconies are masks and the mosaic could be confetti.
Casa Batlló’s roof is just one of several noteworthy features along the boulevard. This block on the Passeig de Gràcia is home to several modernistic houses from the same period, including those by architects Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Barcelonans joke about the ‘Illa de la Discòrdia’, which loosely translates as ‘The Housing Block with a Twist’ and refers to the competition that existed between architects along this street.
The interior of Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló has good reason to be described as a legendary building. Anyone who sees its exuberant exterior alone would be hard pressed to recognise it as a residential building. For this reason, the interior is also well worth seeing. Make good use of the long opening hours (from 9:00 to 21:00 with entry permitted until 20:00). Try to arrive at sunset, when the light passing through the shell-shaped skylights creates a mysterious atmosphere. Be sure to visit Señor Batlló’s study and the festejador, a romantic spot by the carved fireplace where lovers can retreat.