By John Ensor •
Published: 16 Nov 2023 • 19:50
La Estrecha: In the middle.
Can a building measuring just 107 centimetres in width captivate a city’s heart? In Valencia, the answer is a resounding yes, as evidenced by the recent developments at ‘La Estrecha.’
On Thursday, November 16, Sombreros Albero, a family business established in 1820, has boldly chosen to set up their new store in the Ciutat Vella neighbourhood of Valencia, according to Telecinco.
This decision comes at a time when city centres are losing traditional businesses to large stores and escalating rent prices. Rafael Albero, the company’s owner, explains their rationale: ‘We are committed to local and nearby business, we want to continue being in the historic centres, close to customers.’
Their choice for the new premises is none other than ‘La Estrecha,’ renowned for being Spain’s narrowest building.
This unique property, measuring a mere 107 centimetres wide, offers unparalleled visibility in a highly touristic area. Rafael adds, ‘It is a unique space, in a privileged environment, very touristy, that many people visit since people from outside know it more than the Valencians themselves, and that gives us a lot of visibility.’ The opening day, which took place earlier today, marks a new chapter for both the business and the building.
Refurbishing ‘La Estrecha’ was no easy task, with a keen focus on preserving its historic charm. The ground floor, previously inaccessible due to a merger with an adjacent building, has been renovated.
Rafael shares the details: ‘Many years ago the building was joined to the adjacent one, and it could not be accessed through the ground floor. . . Now thanks to the renovation we have carried out Customers can enter through the door of ‘La Estrecha,’ where we have also placed some displays with some of our hats and caps.’
Situated at number 6 of Plaza Lope de Vega, close to Plaza Redonda and La Lonja, ‘La Estrecha’ boasts the narrowest facade in Spain and is second only to a property in Amsterdam. This five-story brick edifice has a storied past, once housing a jewellery store and the family running it.
Over the years, it has seen various incarnations, including a kiosk, a gift shop, a bar, and now, a hat store. The 1980s brought significant change, joining it to a neighbouring building, yet its original facade remains, a testament to its historical significance.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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