History

More than 400 years of history

There are a number of worthwhile places to visit in the urban center. The main sites include: the parish church of Santa Maria, which has one of the most important and best preserved Baroque altarpieces of Catalonia, built in the early 18th century by the sculptor Pau Costa; the Marès Lace Museum (Museu Marès de la Punta), located on Carrer de l'Església and home to the most important collection of 16th to 19th century lacework in Europe; and the former nautical school, founded by Josep Baralt, which currently houses the Mollfulleda Museum of Mineralogy (Museu Mollfulleda de Mineralogía), with one of the finest and most complete collections of minerals in Catalonia.

Hidden on both sides of the lower part of the Riera are a number of urban places and houses of remarkable beauty. A stroll through this maze of streets brings pleasant rewards. They still preserve some of the defense towers built against the Barbary pirates. The Fidel Fita Historical Archive has recovered and saved important historical documentation on Arenys and the whole region. Its work has been critical for preserving the historical memory of Arenys.

At the top of the Turó de la Pietat, just west of town, is the cemetery of Arenys. It is a typical example of a Mediterranean seaside cemetery. Salvador Espriu turned it into literary myth with his poetic work Cementiri de Sinera (Sinera Cemetery). Inside we find sculptural works of outstanding beauty by renowned Modernist artists such as Josep Llimona and Venanci Vallmitjana.

The view from the cemetery is magnificent and from here you can see the main elements and symbols of the geography of Arenys. To the west, the silhouette of the Torre dels Encantats guards the boundary between the dioceses of Girona and Barcelona. Further inland the ubiquitous Tres Turons (Three Hills) contemplate the scene. The view to the east is dominated by the port, with the old Mont Calvari building standing out. A look from this privileged balcony allows us to identify the church of Santa María, the various convents of religious orders, the neoclassical building donated by native son Josep Xifré, and high above the horizon the great mountainous mass of Montnegre.