From Roman times to Old Catalonia

12 Cronograma ​Studies speak of archaeological remains in the neighboring towns of Canet de Mar, such as Arenys de Mar, Sant Pol de Mar or large centers such as Iluro (Mataró), which are important sources of information.

Following the witnesses of the Roman era in different points of the Maresme coast, especially the geographical points near the Castell, we can see a fruitful area in which commercial development was common. Thus, everything indicates that the current location of the Castell is located on the floor of a Roman Domus that, thanks to some finds that have been made, it is known that it was a relevant wine production area, since amphorae were found, destined for packaging, along with a Roman column that indicated that a branch of the Via Augusta passed through this term.

The Knights of Canet

es-cronograma-2-229x300 CronogramaBetween the X-XI centuries, (1027) the Domus would be a participant and spectator of the events that took place in the recovery of the territories of Catalonia. The farmhouses or domus isolated among the Marsh lands dedicated to orchards, forests and vineyards covered the needs of the population scattered along the slopes of the "Vallis Cannetum".

The first written data that is stored starring Guadamir Canet (1024) and his son Gilabert de Canet (1041), who constitute the first-born of the Canet, who settled in the valley of the parish of Sant Iscle, as soldiers, in a building rural and simple, a farmhouse with a tower.

The knights guarded these lands from enemies who wanted to conquer them, such as pirates and bandits... Meanwhile, the peasants of remensa worked the land to supply the area. We find the description of these knights in the coat of arms of the Can, which is still part of the current flag of the town, making known the origin of the settlement of the population.

Ferrer de Canet, knight and lord of the Strong House

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The importance of the Domus de Canet is consolidated.

A small nucleus of population was formed around the Domus, and the Canet family continued as owners. In the year 1217 we have a documentary reference to the fact that the farmhouse was fortified. Mr. Ferrer de Canet asked Guillem Umbert, lord of the Montseny and the Castell de Montpalau, permission to raise a force on the lands he had in the valley (we can interpret the term "force" as fortress or fortification with the probable concept of walled space).

Later, Ferrer de Canet made a will in favor of his daughter Bartomea, who was married to Bernat de Villalba. These were later the parents of the great Ferrer de Canet y Villalba, who starred in the expansion and the presence of the Fortified House.

The expansion of the Fortified House

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Under the patronage of Ferrer de Canet and Villalba the fortification will achieve its maximum splendor.

The knight Ferrer de Canet was the advisor of King Alfonso IV of Aragon and III of Catalonia-Aragon (the Benign). He was also its ambassador and representative to Pope Benedict XII in 1335 and, as gratitude for the sign of his services, he granted him some relics of Santa Florentina, reason that will lead him to build a worthy fortification to house them, incorporating improvements such as defense elements such as loopholes and towers with barbican. At the death of Alfonso, he continued to serve the Crown of Aragon with Peter IV (the Ceremonious).

XV and XVI
The decline of the Casal de los Canet

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The revolution of the peasants.

In this century the Fortified House was unoccupied, since its owners, Guillem de Peguera and Antònia de Canet (great-granddaughter of the great Ferrer de Canet y Villalba) resided in the house of the Pegueras.

In the year 1462 the first war of the “remences” began in Catalonia starring the peasants, slaves of the land and the power of the lordships, who wanted to end the servitude to which their feudal lords had subjected them. This created major revolts in the area, including the burning of part of the Canet's Fortified House.

Contrary to what they had been doing up to that moment, -the Canets made the surname of the Fortified House prevail over that of the husband-, now it ceases to be so. The successors, Guillem de Peguera y Canet and Joan de Peguera y Canet, stop living in the Fortified House and, when they see the inevitable decline in the management of the casal, Joan de Peguera sells the Fortified House to Salvador Spanó.

The Montaner-Spanó marriage is the first in the saga of the next generations that will occupy the Fortified House

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The Spanó, the new lineage, transport us to the origin of the Montaner.

Salvador Spanó leaves as an inheritance to his son, Miquel Spanó, who was a wealthy merchant and an honest citizen of Barcelona, the Fortified House he acquired from the Pegueras. Miquel Spanó married his daughter Anna Spanó, universal heiress, with Felip Dimas de Montaner, also an honored citizen of Barcelona, doctor of laws and professor at the University of Barcelona, who is in charge of the administration of the Canet estate.

The deadlock in which the Montaner have to recover the old casal

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It is not until the 1840's when we meet with an obstacle in the commitment of the Montaner with the house, in particular with Ramon Montaner, and Esteve, to whom the years were being favorable and is forced to leave the Fortified House canetenc landowner Felix Carnesoltes.

The Montaner-Vila couple had children and, at the time of marrying their firstborn, Maria, they made the decision to do so with a renowned bookbinder from Esplugues de Llobregat, named Pere Domènech y Salón. This marriage would help the Montaner family to prosper, since a young Ramon de Montaner y Vila would be next to his brother-in-law, as a trusted man, learning everything about the trade. This meant that, years later, together with his partner Francesc Simón, he had the tools to set up his own publishing house, la Montaner y Simón.

XIX and XX
The Castell de Santa Florentina becomes as such

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Lluís Domènech i Montaner was one of the greatest exponents of Catalan modernism, who, together with his team of artists, composed of the best craftsmen of the time, introduces stained glass windows of varied designs, large marble pieces with mosaics on the floors, wood carving and cushioned ceilings, ceramics, wrought iron and sculptures, which harmonize spaces totally balanced and full of color, light, shapes and volumes.

It will be at the end of the XIX century when Ramon de Montaner i Vila, already an important Barcelona businessman and co-owner of the Montaner i Simon publishing house (today headquarters of the Antoni Tàpies Foundation), recovers the Fortified House and entrusts his nephew Lluís Domènech i Montaner with its restoration and expansion.

The final project is defined as a residential summer palace, with medieval and romantic touches merged, in full harmony, with an aesthetic and creative modernist language.

This reform, inspired by medieval, modernist and neo-Gothic elements, gave the Castell a great reputation.

The denomination of Castell de Santa Florentina brings together the inheritance of the relics and the memory of the wife of Ramon de Montaner, Florentina Malató i Surinyach, who died suddenly before the end of its extension.

The year 1908 the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, accepts the invitation of Ramon de Montaner to visit the Castell and spend a few days with his court and other personalities of the time.

Two years later, in 1910, the king granted the title of I Count of the Canet Valley to Ramon de Montaner, in recognition of his industrial and cultural task.

In 1921 Ramon de Montaner died and left this splendid legacy to his descendants.

The Castle today

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1949: On April 22, the Castell de Santa Florentina was declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest by the Generalitat of Catalonia with the registration 615-MH-EN.

1988: On November 8, the Monument was registered as an Asset of Cultural Interest with the reference RI-51-0005232 of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

1998: In the magazine “Architectural Digest”, of the month of November, the castle is cited as one of the most beautiful houses in the world:

"It is surprising to see its walls so old with such a current appearance. Sometimes you want to visit it for the old and sometimes for the modernist, but a modernism that admirably respects the Gothic canons of the old construction, as evidenced by the furniture, sculptures, tapestries, paintings, porcelain, glass and weapons that fill its rooms. The ensemble turns out to be harmonious, solemn and at the same time surprisingly lively.”

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