Day 1 – afternoon: Hostalets de Pierola, where time stands still
As soon as you arrive in Hostalets de Pierola, you feel as though you’re in a place where time has stopped, and stopped specifically at the start of the 20th century. That was when Catalonia saw the explosion of modernisme and noucentisme, just a few decades apart. These cultural movements reached a good number of towns in the region, resulting in architectural jewels scattered all along the coast and just inland. A good example of this is the series of buildings that still stand today in this small town of just 2,000 inhabitants. The train line from Barcelona to Igualada reached Piera in 1897, which allowed Hostalets to open itself up to the modern world. The arrival of the train, together with the privileged setting, with Montserrat in the background, made this village appealing to various industrialists and businessmen who chose it as their summer destination – around 15 residences were the result of their affection, many constructed during the second decade of the last century.
You can follow the modernista and noucentista footprint in Hostalets de Pierola by parking close to the centre, near the popular Placeta. This is where C/Major and C/ Isidre Vallès meet, a good place to start your tour. On the right, you’ll soon see Casa Cucurella, dating from 1924, a noucentista building paid for by the Cucurella family, important patrons in Hostalets at the time. The house, designed by the architect Josep Goday is noteworthy for the sgraffito on its façade, handiwork of the sculptor Ferran Serra Sala. Leaving behind Casa Cucurella and heading in the opposite direction down C/Major, you reach what is still one of the cultural nerve centres of the village, the Casal Català, created under the protection of the Lliga Regionalista (a Catalan political party that existed in the first third of the 20th century). Stop here for a drink then cross C/Catalunya to find two more points of interest: the Torre del Senyor Enric, a summer house built in 1903, and Cal Maristany, both of which were built for the Cucurellas. The former was for Enric Cucurella and the other for his brother Joan. Cal Maristany has been renovated and today is the location for a music school that is a source of local pride.
The Escoles Nacionals connect the houses of the Cucurella brothers and those of the brothers, Josep and Pau Pons, which are also connected. These two ‘Indians’ (Catalans who made their fortunes in the Americans, in this case they were wine merchants who worked with Uruguay), erected, respectively, a house in 1907 (Cal Josepet) and a number of modernista apartments in 1915 – after a few years, the latter were transformed into the first textile factories of Hostalets. Carry on past the houses of the Pons brothers and head to C/Anselm Clavé, which will bring you back to C/Major. Head up C/Major passing Cal Ponsa, which still has its modernista interior, and you’ll get to the beautiful façade of Torre Solanas. Originally, this unusual noble building belonged to the Solanas Pujol family. Today, it belongs to the Lloparts.
If you follow the ronda de Ponent, you’ll soon get to Can Valls, built more than 800 years ago and inhabited by the Valls family since 1432. At the start of the ’20s, this country home was renovated and decorated with modernista features, including broken tile (trencadís) mosaics and glazed ceramics. Finally, to finish your visit, go down C/Jacint Verdaguer, turn onto C/ de l’Església and stop to admire the façade of Cal Xic Carboner.