THE OLD cliché is that people go to Malaga – only just to leave just as quickly as their plane lands. 

But those in the know will tell you that’s not true. Malaga is far more than an airport with a city on its outskirts, it’s a buzzing Andalusian metropolis stuffed with things to do and see: boasting the highest number of art museums of any city in Spain (30) and delicious food (endless). 

But it is arguably Malaga’s most famous son, a local boy named Pablo Picasso, who has done most to keep the picturesque city on the map.

Thanks to the phenomenal popularity over Picasso’s work, Malaga can count on a steady stream of visitors from every corner of the globe.

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Indeed, Casa Natal,  his rather bourgeois birthplace, clocks up thousands of visitors every summer.

But as we fall into autumn and Covid-19 keeps the tourist numbers low, this is the perfect opportunity to visit Picasso’s birthplace at Plaza de Merced 15 in the Andalucian city, the first child of José Ruiz y Blasco and María Picasso y López, born on October 25, 1881.

The family home is now the Fundacion Picasso Museo Casa Natal (fundacionpicasso.malaga.eu) – and offers the perfect opportunity for art fans to immerse themselves the world of the artist, sculptor, ceramicist, photographer and writer whose work dominated Western art in the 20th century. 

Inside, there’s a recreation of the Ruíz Picasso family’s reception hall and you can see family mementos and learn about the artistic upbringing that helped shaped Picasso into the painter we know today.  

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Picasso’s father was a painter himself, with a passion for creating naturalistic depiction of birds. For most of his life was also a professor of art at the School of Crafts and a curator of a local museum – so there’s something heartwarming about the fact his now has been transformed into one of the most important galleries in the city. 

Just like his father, young Picasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age; according to his mother, his first word was ‘piz’,  a shortening of lapiz, the Spanish word for pencil. 

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A serious and prematurely world-weary child, the young Picasso was a poor student. Yet his family believed he was destined for greatness. 

“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope,'” he later recalled. “Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

Here you’ll find some sentimental pieces amongst his more well known works of art, including a sketchbook for his work Les senoritas de Avignon lovingly preserved.

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