History of the Castle
St. Florentina’s castle was built on the place of so-called “Domus”, the type of old Roman house occupied by nobility. Domus represented not only the centre of winemaking in the region but also one of the first centres for ancient settlements.
In the 11th century the building served as a fortification from frequent pirate attacks. The remains of the building are still a part of St. Florentina’s Castle.
According to the first documents Guadimir de Canet and Gilabert de Canet were the owners of St. Florentina’s Castle in the 11th century but it was only in the 14th century under Ferrer de Canet – Gilabert’s great-grandson – when Domus reached its fullest blossom. Ferrer de Canet was not only a noble knight who held a position of advisor to King Alfonso V the Magnanimous but also served as an ambassador on behalf of the Pope. It was Ferrer de Canet who got the permission for fortification and construction of two towers to protect the Castle from pirates of the Mediterranean. After getting married his son Arnau expanded the belongings with the help of the Besors and the Monteskis. During this period Domus was under protection of St. Maria. In this connection in honour of St. Maria a chapel was erected which is located in one of the towers. After the marriage between Arnau’s daughter Antonia de Canet and Guillem de Peguera Domus the territory expanded.
At the beginning of the 16th century Huan de Perega assigned the right of possession to Miquel Spano whose daughter Ana got married to Felipe Dimas de Montaner, a lawyer from Barcelona. Due to this event the history of Domus became strongly bounded with the Montaners.
At the end of 19th century Ramon de Montaner i Vila, the owner of Domus and «Montaner and Simon» – large publishing house in Barcelona, which territory is now occupied by Tàpies Foundation – placed an order with his nephew, a famous modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner to renovate and to expand Domus.
Lluís Domènech i Montaner was highly influenced by Modernism and thoroughly designed every room in St. Florentina’s Castle with a total area of 3000 m2. With the help of his team that consisted of the most talented specialists he created bright stained-glass windows, depicting religious subjects, large rooms with marble floor and inlay, painted carved wood ceilings, paving tile, sculptures – everything fitted bright and colourful space of the Castle.
The final project was implemented in accordance with modernism in style of a palace which air was filled with the spirit of the Middle Ages and Romanticism. Thanks to these renovations the Castle of Saint Florentina became widely known.
St. Florentina’s Castle got its name in honor of the relic, which was presented to Ferrer de Canet from the Pope as a symbol of protection, and also in honor of Florentina Malatto Suriñach, Ramón de Montaner’s wife.
In 1908 King Alfonso XIII of Spain accepted Ramón de Montaner’s invitation to visit the Castle and spent there a few days in company of his court and other famous people of the time. During his visit the King gave Ramón de Montaner the title «Graf de Vall de Canet».
After Ramón de Montaner’s death in 1921 his daughter Julia who was married to Ricardo de Campany inherited the Castle. Julia and Ricardo’s son Ramon de Campany i de Montaner was a famous artist.