History

CASTELL DE SANTA FLORENTINA

 

St.Florentina’s Castle was built on the place of so-called Domus, the type of old Roman house occupied by the upper classes. 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 functioned as fortification in order to defend from frequent pirates’ attacks. Remains of this building are still a part of St. Florentina’s Castle. According to the first documentary mentions Guadimir de Canet and Gilabert de Canet were the owners of St. Florentina’s Castle in the 11th century. But only in the 14th century under Ferrer de Canet – Gilabert’s great-grandson – Domus reached its fullest flower. Ferrer de Canet was a gentle knight, held a post of advisor of King Alfonso V the Magnanimous, and also acted as an ambassador on behalf of the Pope. It was Ferrer de Canet who got the permission for fortification and building of two towers in order 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 was erected a chapel, which situated in one of the towers. After 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, the lawyer from Barcelona. Thanks to this event the Montaners strongly bounded themselves with the history of Domus.

 

 

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 influential on Modernisme and thoroughly designed every room in St. Florentina’s Castle with a total area of 3000 m2. With the help of his team 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 colorful space of the Castle.

The final project was realized in accordance with modernism in style of a palace which air was filled with the spirit of the Middle Ages and Romanticism. Thanks to this reorganization 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.