For one week in May every year, Valencia’s streets turn into a gallery of giant, often cartoon-like sculptures. Come the end of the week, these colorful behemoths are incinerated in building-high bonfires, illuminating the town and filling the city skies with smoke. Though your visit to Valencia may not coincide with this fire- and firework-filled event, you can still become acquainted with it by visiting the Museum of Las Fallas.
But first, to understand the museum, you must grasp what makes up this wild celebration, and specifically the fallas themselves. The fallas are essentially massive, usually paper-mache-made sculptures, typically infused with some sort of political or pop-culture reference. Hundreds of these creations are erected in city squares and street junctions around town, with each big falla having a miniature version next to it, which is called a ninot. Typically both are burned during La Cremà (which takes place the last day of Fallas), but each year one ninot is saved based on popular vote.
And that’s when the Museum of Las Fallas comes in, as it is where each of these small fallas (all the way back to 1934) are on display. Viewing each year’s salvaged piece will not only give visitors unique insight into the festival but also into the evolution of the artwork and, of course, citizens’ interests at the time. Posters and images of Fallas past are on display as well, providing guests with a well-rounded look at what one of Spain’s favorite festivals is all about.
The Museum of Las Fallas is located in the southern part of Valencia, near the City of Arts and Sciences. It is open every day of the week, and is free to enter on Sundays and holidays.