Vendrell and Pau Casals are two names that cannot be separated. The musician was born in Vendrell and spent his first years there, before his exile sent him from Baix Penedès, but he was never forgotten in his home town, and today his memory is everywhere: his summer home is open to the public, the Auditorium bears his name, and a statue of Josep Viladomat in Plaça Nova also remembers him. Even the road to Vendrell was baptised Pau Casals. But the capital city of Baix Penedès, and one of the largest cities on the Costa Daurada, also has many other things to see.
IN COLLABORATION WITH TURISME DEL VENDRELL.
Afternoon, day 1: The house of the master
As soon as you arrive in Vendrell, you can go in search of the life of its most famous resident, Pau Casals. The house where he was born is easy to find, at C/ de Santa Anna, 4, close to Plaça Nova. It's open to the public, and offers hour-long guided tours, which reveal the human story of the composer and cellist, with information such as that his mother bore eleven children, only three of whom reached adulthood, and that the house was rented by his parents from the day they married. In fact, his father came to Vendrell to tune the organ in the church, fell in love with the city and stayed. Pau Casals always said he owed his love of music to his father, and his love of peace to his mother.
In addition to the tour of the house, Vendrell offers a range of possibilities in the form of art galleries and museums, including the Apel·les Fenosa Foundation, the Àngel Guimerà Museum, and the Déu Museum. But if the weather's nice, we recommend you make the most of the fresh air, and explore the historic centre of the city – see the Plaça Vella, and discover the Sant Salvador church and its baroque organ, and the painted mural, bench and lamp post in the Plaça dels Germans Ramon i Vidales. The city streets also offer a good bunch of shops and eateries, if you feel like wandering around.
Morning, day 2: All about the wine (and vinegar)
Don't forget that you are in the Penedès area, which surely you'll been reminded of by the many vineyards you must have spotted on your journey. So this morning it's off to see the Avgvtvs Forvm bodegas, where you can make the most of a guided tour and sample two reserve wines. You can also try four reserve vinegars, as the vineyard produces some wonderful vinegar too. The name of the bodega comes from the fact that part of its vineyards are planted on the route of the Vía Augusta. So now you know – these wines are rooted in both history and in the Penedès Designation of Origin.
Afternoon, day 2: The summer holidays
After lunch is a good time to head for the beach and the centre of Sant Salvador, where, right on the shore, is the Vil·la Casals. This is where Pau Casals came to enjoy some peace between his world tours, and where he spent his summers between 1910 and 1939. The house was renovated and reopened as a museum in June 2001, and you can follow the story of the master musician through his music, as well as audiovisual displays, and original objects and documents – the artistic and personal journey travelled by the cellist. The Vil·la Casals also offers an extensive programme of concerts, conferences, and night-time visits.
Away from the house itself, the beach deserves some attention, even in the cooler months. You can enjoy a peaceful walk along the shore, and a paddle to remind you of the summer that's still so far away.
Morning, day 3: The animal shelter
It’s your last day, but before head back home, we recommend a visit to Pla de Mar, especially if you’re with the kids, where you’ll find La Bassa, a rescue home for animals that have been poorly treated or abandoned. Some residents stay here for the rest of their lives, and others move on to a new home. The association that runs the shelter guarantees that the animals will never be sold, exchanged, exploited, or used for experiments, and you can take a guided tour around the centre to meet all the rabbits, horses, dogs, tortoises, chickens, swans, and more, and learn about how the shelter works and how the animals live.
Located in the artist’s summer residence and studio, a restored 16th century building with a beautiful Mediterranean garden, the Foundation’s museum contains an important collection of original sculptures in terracotta and plaster, as well as a selection of monumental bronzes.
This house-museum near the sea is where the musician Pau Casals rested during his breaks between world tours and where visitors can now explore his career and the gardens, sculpture gallery and music room of the house, which was reformed by architect Antoni Puig i Gairalt in the 1930s.
In the centre of Vendrell we can visit the house in which Pau Casals was born and where he spent his childhood and youth. It’s a humble house with furniture dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. The guided visits allow visitors to learn about the human side of Catalonia’s greatest cellist and explore his origins and how his home town greeted the news of his death.