Land of the brave
This is how the Romans baptized the
Spanish city of Valencia
when they founded it, in the 2nd century BC:
, which in Latin alluded to "land of the brave".
Today, with almost 800,000 inhabitants, it is the capital of the Valencian Community, one of the 17 autonomous territories in which Spain is organized and which is becoming
the new promised land for Argentines who emigrate
The phenomenon of Valencia as the destination that most attracts those who decide to leave Argentina - surpassing Madrid and Barcelona, two of the big cities loved by Argentines - has convincing figures: in the last year, the presence of compatriots
increased by almost 60 percent cent
"The migration of Argentine citizens to Valencia
has multiplied in the last year
to reach 3,654 registered in the city, 58.9 percent more than the previous year," they point out to
from the City Hall of the Valencian capital.
"Over the last few months,
1,355 Argentine citizens
have been registered , the majority coming from abroad (1,081) compared to the 274 who arrived from other parts of Spain," they add.
This figure, in reality, corresponds only to those registered in the city of Valencia and with an Argentine passport.
It does not include, however, that large portion of Argentine immigrants that is very difficult to count: that of those who, also possessing European citizenship,
register with a community passport
, a procedure that facilitates legal residence on Spanish soil and access to any position of work.
"The city of Valencia
is in fashion
and not only because of its economic activity and the investments of large technology companies, but also because of the international and European recognition it is receiving for its gastronomy, its culture, its tourism, its diversity and its environmentalism" , says Deputy Mayor Sandra Gómez, proud of her city.
And he lists: “Valencia has been the
center of Spanish cinema
with the Goya gala and of gastronomy with the Michelin Gala.
We are the European capital of sustainable tourism and, in June 2023, we are going to celebrate the gala of the 50 best restaurants in the world ”, he points out.
"In addition, we will be the
European green capital in 2024
, we are in the final of the European Capital of Innovation and we will host the Gay Games in 2026", reviews the vice mayor.
According to Gómez, "the arrival of Argentine citizens coincides with the economic effervescence that is taking place in all the neighborhoods of the city with
large investments from technology companies such
as HP, Siemens, Hitachi, the UN Computational Center and, just a few kilometers , the Volkswagen battery gigafactory, which will have an investment of 4,500 million euros and which
will employ 19,100 people
in the networks
There is more than one Facebook group of Argentines in Valencia.
The most populous has about
“The flow of information in the group is permanent.
Half of those who participate are already living in Valencia or in other provinces of the Valencian Community such as Alicante or Castellón.
The other half are people who are in Argentina
studying the possibility of settling here
, ” Pablo Vignati, the group's administrator
Vignati is an Argentine who has had a fixed residence in Valencia since 2014 -although he has come and gone between Spain, Italy and Argentina since 2005- and is also president of
Casa Argentina in Valencia José de San Martín
, an association that, for nine years, it is a good plan for barbecues, mateadas, tango classes and it also helps channel paperwork for those who have to resolve consular issues.
Pablo Vignati is president of Casa Argentina in Valencia José de San Martín.
"Why more and more Argentines choose Valencia has to do, from my point of view, with
the saturation of the real estate market in Madrid or Barcelona
," says Vignati.
In Valencia it is also difficult to find a house but it is still possible to rent an apartment for a family for 700 or 800 euros per month.
Settling in Madrid or Barcelona at this time is
very expensive for an Argentine pesificado pocket
Comparative data handled by FICSA, a company specializing in real estate developments in the area, indicate that housing in Valencia is
80 percent cheaper
than in other Western European cities.
“Valencia, in addition, is a medium-sized city that
has all the services
: port, airport, high-speed train that takes you to Madrid in a couple of hours, sea and, a few kilometers away, mountains.
If you want, you have the sea in summer and, 80 kilometers away, skiing in winter.
In Valencia, in addition, there is
a high level of security
and that is highly considered ”, he comments.
During the summer, the beaches of the Valencian coast are populated with
According to the Valencian Community Rescue and Lifeguard Federation, almost half of those who carry out rescue tasks during the seasonal months are Argentines.
Pablo Vignati also set up a consultancy on foreigners and migration.
"I wake up every day with my work cell phone with more than 150 new conversations," he says.
They are Argentines who make contact to find out different issues to emigrate
“50 percent of the work I do at the consultancy is processing citizenship in Italy.
Last year we obtained between 80 and 90 citizenships in Italy and of those that we process,
97 percent end up living in Spain
, says Vignati.
Almost nobody stays in Italy.
There you earn better but in Spain life is more relaxed.
And Valencia is in focus.”
The exchange in the Facebook group is constant.
The exchange in the Facebook group is constant.
Emi, 24, has papers and is looking for a job and a room in Valencia.
Axel replies that he just got a hostel for 30 euros a night.
Noelia is a biomedical engineer and recently arrived in Valencia.
She is validating her title and, in the meantime, is looking for a job in the gastronomic field or in administration.
Lucas asks if any compatriot recovered his camouflaged backpack with a mate kit that his mother gave him that he forgot in the main park in Valencia.
“Hey gang, does anyone know where
to get chinchulins
around the downtown area?” Joe wants to know.
During the first six months of this year, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) of Spain registered an increase in population in 14 of the 17 autonomous communities.
The Valencian Community was the third in this demographic growth.
And along with Madrid and Catalonia, it also makes up the podium of
territories with the greatest influx of immigrants
: in the first half of the year, 39,494 foreigners settled there, a figure that corresponds only to those who have their papers in order.
“The most positive migratory balances between communities during the first semester of 2022 occurred in the Valencian Community (2,570), the Madrid Community (1,435) and Andalusia (769)”, adds the INE report.
Mariángeles Polito arrived in Valencia in March of this year, in full Valencian Fallas, the celebration that dyes the city with a party.
In love with Valencia.
Mariángeles Polito with her two children.
“I fell in love with Valencia”
“I fell in love with Valencia”
, says she, who came with her husband and their children, Vito and Eva, aged 5 and 2.
“We find a lot of life in the parks, where you meet other parents who take their kids to play and immediately share their phone numbers with you so we can meet again,” says Mariángeles, who at 40 decided to leave Villa Lugano, the Buenos Aires neighborhood in the one who was born and raised.
In the park he met Naty, another Argentine who in April had moved with her family -husband and two boys, ages 8 and 5- from Germany to Valencia.
They agreed to meet again.
They became friends and together they set up Divermanía Park, a toy library where birthdays are celebrated and the little ones go to play.
With my husband we dreamed of living in another country," she says.
We came to the north of Spain, where my sister lives, and after a while we decided that we
would find our own destiny
Each one was going to propose a place and, when we sat down to talk about it, we both said: 'Valencia'.
And here we are."
In these months her husband, 41, got a job as a real estate agent.
She and Naty take care of the toy library.
Mariángeles says that in Valencia
she moves comfortably, calmly
“Everything is close and public transport works very well.
I go back to my house alone, after ten at night, and I feel safe, ”she clarifies.
"Our project was always to be able to lead a quiet life," sums up Mariángeles.
According to her,
in Valencia she succeeded
And although she is going through the saddest days of her life because her father, Pascual, passed away very recently, she is consoled for having managed to have her mother, Margarita, visit her last month.
Mariángeles came to show Pascual how happy her life is in Valencia.
land of bike paths
third city in Spain
-behind Madrid and Barcelona- in terms of population density, Valencia is also the third with the best cycling network: it has 167 kilometers of interconnected bike paths.
Adriana Miter runs a dental clinic that is a reference among Argentines in the city.
“36 years ago, when I arrived, there was a lot of orchard.
Today there are too many bike lanes for my liking but I always say that Valencia is very bright.
I see it as light blue”, says Adriana Mitre, an Argentine dentist who landed in the Valencian Community at the age of 32 and with a boyfriend.
In Valencia, Adriana got married, became a mother and separated.
She opened a dental clinic that is now run by her son, heir to her profession, and which is
a point of reference for the Argentine community here
“Three new patients come per week who are Argentines.
They know me because they pass the information on,” says Adriana.
For her, “Valencia is a smaller and more welcoming city.
It would be like Mar del Plata in relation to Buenos Aires
Quality of life
Sebastián Pita, a 46-year-old Argentine who lived in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires before moving to Spain, chose Valencia for
“the quality and cost of living”
“The real estate issue is difficult.
Sometimes they ask you to pay six months in advance, but I have an 8-year-old daughter and the quality of life that I give her is what I want for her," says Sebastián, who opened a branch of a company here in Valencia. protection of personal data and computer security.
Sebastián Pita changed Palermo for Valencia because of “the quality and cost of living”.
"I play soccer with two groups of Argentines who now live in Valencia and there are very varied stories, from people who worked in a bank in Argentina and today deliver from Amazon and who
are committed to the quality of life here
," he says.
According to the annual Expat Insider survey carried out by InterNations, the largest global network of expatriates, and in which 15,000 members of 173 nationalities participate,
Valencia is the best city in the world to live
It is followed by Dubai, Mexico, Lisbon and Madrid.
In Valencia, 92 percent of those consulted
and 72 percent are
happy with the social life
they develop in the city.
Marcelo Arcolia opened a store of Argentine products in Valencia.
"The arrival of Argentines in the last two years is quite noticeable," says Marcelo Arcolia, owner of Sabores del Sur, the
only store selling Argentine products
in Valencia created and run by compatriots.
“We arrived in 2003 and now we have perhaps a more comfortable position because we were able to develop economically with different ventures or with our professions -says Marcelo-.
Those who come in this decade of the 2020s arrive, above all, for
reasons of insecurity and instability
On Carrer de Félix del Río, Sabores del sur
is not suitable for nostalgics
: alfajores, candies and a variety of yerbas mates cover the local shelves.
"Every week we are receiving Argentines, 5 or 6 per week, who arrived in the last three months," he calculates.
all social strata
: Argentines who come without papers, some from less favored classes and also from the middle class, who had their profession, their trade, their small and medium-sized companies and are encouraging themselves to develop in Europe.
In the world of gastronomy and tourism there are many Argentine ventures with hotels, bars and restaurants”.
“Argentines find in Valencia a friendly city, with security, and
a very good climate 9 months a year
In addition, the contagion effect that we Argentines who lived a long time ago and we tell our experience on social networks and WhatsApp groups helps them, ”she adds.
Valencia boasts, among its traditions, that of celebrating the oldest Three Kings parade in Spain.
Since 1885, the residents of Alcoy, in the province of Alicante, have seen Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar pass by on a route that was declared of National Tourist Interest.
Pablo Vignati with his family at the aquarium, one of the most touristic places in Valencia.
And it is also in Valencia where the largest aquarium in Europe was built: there, for example, lives the only family of belugas on the continent that can be seen in an aquarium.
“The big difference in the Argentine migratory framework at the beginning of 2000 and now is that, at that time,
practically no one came to stay
but rather to get around the bad moment that Argentina was going through,” says Vignati.
There was in almost all of them a return plan.
No one had liquidated their estate, their house, their business as is happening now.
That is a change that I see and it is very strong.
People come from selling their house, their business, from leaving their profession and settling with their entire family in Spain”.
According to the Roman historian Tito Livio, the lands of that first Valentia were
a prize granted to soldiers with guts
Perhaps as many as those that thousands of Argentines gather today to pack their bags, move more than ten thousand kilometers from home and start from scratch.
The story in reverse: Argentine immigration is the one that grew the most in Spain
How did it go for the Argentines who went to Spain and are already the largest immigration from that country?