The first aerial attack on La Barceloneta occurred on March 16, 1937. On October 1, 1937, Italian planes, flying low, approached Barcelona, dropped their bombs on Barceloneta and then strafed the local population killing 55 and wounding 87. Eighteen buildings were destroyed including a school. Barceloneta was attacked again on January 7, 1938. And, again, on September 16, 1938. The Mercato Barceloneta was hit, killing 34 and wounding 124. There is a memorial at the entrance to the market today. Most attacks were conducted by the Italians (113 missions in all) but the Germans also participated (with 80 missions of their own.) La Barceloneta was a strategic target because of its location on the coast near the port, the railway, and the gas plant. This is also notable because it is the first time a major city was hit with systematic bombings against all manner of targets—including the civilian population! The bombing of September 16, 1938 took place while Chamberlain and Hitler resolved negotiations regarding the Sudetenland. This attack nearly started WWII since a British ship was hit in the Barcelona port; but these attacks had nothing to do with WWII. They were conducted on behalf of Franco. Both Germany and Italy supported him in hopes of gaining his support later. But he kept Spain neutral. That was surely a major disappointment to both Mussolini and Hitler!
On our second day in Barcelona we visited Mercato Barceloneta. It is a bustling and lively market. Foodstuffs are inside and clothing, housewares, etc. circle the outer perimeter. We had coffee at El Guindilla and watched the pedestrians on the huge market square. We were told the square is full of revelers on summer evenings! We walked through Barceloneta and wound up at Maian’s Restaurant at the marina for a wonderful paella lunch! At the end of the marina, we found an outdoor market and the Emperado Restaurant where we enjoyed tea and a unique ice cream called Blueberry with Cheese. Quite tasty! And quite an interesting day!