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Canet de Mar Casa Museu Domènech i Montaner
© Gonzalo Sanguinetti

Maresme, among Romans and modernistes

Canet de Mar and Mataró are the two destinations on our trip to the coastal region

By Xavier Amat
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Maresme is imbued with Modernisme. Two of its main architects were closely linked to the region: Josep Puig i Cadafalch was born in Mataró and spent his childhood and youth there, holidaying in Argentona; and Lluís Domènech i Montaner regularly stayed in Canet de Mar. First you’ll head to Canet and its modernista buildings and later visit Mataró to discover its Roman past and markets.

IN COLLABORATION WITH BARCELONA ÉS MOLT MÉS AND THE DIPUTACIÓ DE BARCELONA.

Castell de Santa Florentina interior Canet de Mar
Castell de Santa Florentina interior Canet de Mar
© Albert Miró

Canet de Mar

Every first Saturday of the month at 11 am there is a guided tour of Modernisme in Canet. No need to book, just turn up at the Lluís Domènech i Montaner House Museum, where you’ll find the tourist office. If you go to the town any other day, you can, of course, do the route on your own. Another option is to form a group of twenty or more people and arrange a visit. The route starts at the house where Domènech i Montaner used to live and that he built between 1918 and 1920 with his son, Pere Domènech Roura, and his son-in-law, Francesc Guàrdia. There you can see the permanent exhibition about the architect and also temporary exhibitions. His studio was next door in the Rocosa country farmhouse.

Casa Roura is in Riera de Sant Domènech, and was commissioned by brothers-in-law of the architect of Palau de la Música, and close to it is the Ateneu Cabrerenc, notable for its central rosette and large balcony. Walk along Carrer Ample, with buildings such as Casa Floris, designed by Pere Domènech, Casa Puxan, built by the foreman Josep Cabruja at the request of the Indiano Jaume Puxan, and Casa Carbonell, with a façade with sgraffiti. There are also some architecturally interesting old factories in the town, such as the Fàbrica Jover, by Pere Domènech, and the Fàbrica Carbonell, by Puig i Cadafalch. The icing on the cake is Santa Florentina Castle, restored and enlarged by Domènech i Montaner; but there is a half hour walk to get there, and you must book in advance to visit.

El Rengle Mercat Plaça Gran Mataró
El Rengle Mercat Plaça Gran Mataró
© Albert Miró

Iluro, the Roman town through the senses

Next you can head to the capital of the region. In Mataró there are many guided tours; why not to choose the one called Salve Iluro. The Roman Town through the Senses? Iluro is the name of what would be the current Mataró two millennia ago, a small town on a hill, with its walls, forum, baths and houses... The route, which starts at the door of the town hall, does not require prior booking. It is not dramatised but there is some participation, such as donning Roman dress or the possibility of touching the remains of those times, be it pieces of ceramics or tesserae. It also includes a visit to the permanent exhibition on Iluro in Mataró Museum.

If on the day you visit the town this tour is not available, you can choose another– such as on Modernisme, the first train in Spain, a stroll through history, the factories... – or ask at the tourism office, located in the town hall, for a self-guided tour.

In Mataró, capital of Maresme, you can also enjoy its markets. Today there are seven but the two most central are in Plaça de Cuba, the work of the architect Lluís Gallifa, and El Rengle in Plaça Gran, designed by Emili Cabañes and reformed by Puig i Cadafalch.   

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