Today you can explore the main streets of these two towns. To visit Olivella, you don’t need to go far from you where you were yesterday because it’s right in the heart of Garraf Park. Perhaps the town’s name sounds familiar because it’s the seat of a religious centre very different from those we are used to in Catalonia: Palau Novella, with its air of Romanticism, is home to a Buddhist community who settled here quite a long time ago to meditate and live a monastic life. They organise guided tours to visit the buildings and discover aspects of Buddhism with explanations from the monks themselves.
Apart from Palau Novella, in Olivella you can take a relaxing walk through its old centre, visiting Plaça Major and the parish church of Sant Pere and Sant Feliu, as well as the old streets. You can also head to the first settlement of the village, on top of Puig Molí hill, where you’ll see an 18th century mill built on the remains of the old castle, as well as the ruins of the church, a 13th century temple, and the only example of Romanesque architecture in Garraf.
In the afternoon you can head to a “land of Indianos” (the name given to those who in the 19th century travelled to America to make their fortune and settled back in Catalonia): Sant Pere de Ribes. In the 19th century around 400 people from Ribes left home to pursue the American dream, and those who returned led a major urban and cultural transformation in the town, where they built many buildings in Romantic style. To explore some of them, start from either end of Carrer Major, at the Can Puig farmhouse, built in 1853 and that now houses the tourist information centre, among other offices. In the same street you’ll see Indiano houses, notably those at numbers 9, 10, 11, 13 and 18. Then you’ll reach Plaça de la Font, where you’ll notice an elegant modernista fountain from 1906. And in Plaça de la Vila, the town hall was built in the 18th century and is crowned by the tower’s clock, paid for by Sant Pere de Ribes citizens living in Cuba.
Turn down Carrer del Pi, the other street with several Indiano houses, buildings with large windows and balconies that reflect the wealth of their former residents, such as those at numbers 16, 20 and 25. If you walk along Carrer del Doctor Cuadras, you’ll soon be in El Palou neighbourhood, where you can see the Indiano house traditionally known as Can Cuadras and that is now a hotel. Go into Plaça d'Olivella, and then walk along Carrer de Narcís Oller and Carrer d'Eixemenis. Take Carrer Maristany and go straight ahead until you find the church known as Església Nova, built in the 19th century and inspired by the Barcelona church of Santa Maria del Mar. Its bells ‒ located on the twin towers ‒ were paid for by Francesc Marcer, an Indiano who was born here and lived in Guantánamo. Continuing along one of the sides of the church you’ll reach the Antillean looking Plaça Marcer, the heart of Sant Pere de Ribes, and a good place to end the trip and the day.