Postcards from Mataró
1. The Mediterranean in Mataró
The ever-present sea is held in great esteem and respect by everyone in Mataró, as you will see when you pay a visit to its beaches, especially Callao Beach and El Varador Beach, both of which hold the Q for Tourism Quality seal and whose stylish beach bars are the ideal place to shelter from the sun. The strong bond with the sea is also evident in other places: on the seafront promenade, featuring a group of fishermen's huts dating back to the 19th century; in the many restaurants in the docks which serve up local gastronomic specialities, such as peas with cuttlefish and potatoes; in the impressive and extensive posidonia oceanica meadow situated just off the coastline; and, above all, in the Chapel of Sant Simó, a small church which has been the favoured place of worship for local seafarers since the 16th century..
2. Iluro, the Roman Mataró
After you've visited the chapel, how about going on a journey back in time? Head west at a leisurely pace along the Camí Ral (mediaeval road) and you'll come to the Roman villa of Torre Llauder, where you'll find one of the most noteworthy archaeological sites in the country: the remains of a manor house built at the time of Emperor Augustus at the end of the 1st century BC, with beautiful mosaic paving. If you're interested in this period, there's plenty more to discover at the Museum of Mataró, since its permanent collection contains more vestiges of the city of Iluro and you can book a place on one of the regular guided tours of the city's Roman heritage..
3. Mataró, a city since 1702
While you're at the Museum of Mataró, take the opportunity to discover the history of the capital of the Maresme region from the Middle Ages to the present day; it will help you understand how it became one of the most important population centres in Catalonia in the 17th and 18th centuries. You can continue exploring this history once you get outside, in a city centre whose façades, squares and streets are brimming with architectural elements from the baroque period. The Basilica of Santa Maria is a must-see attraction; the frescoes of the Chapel of Els Dolors (the sorrows) were produced by Antoni Viladomat, the most important Catalan painter of the 18th century.
4. Modernista route in Mataró
In addition to the baroque period, the modernista movement also had a significant influence on the architecture of Mataró, visible in the long list of buildings designed by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch (in particular Casa Coll i Regàs, on Carrer d'Argentona, 55), and in the Cooperativa la Obrera Mataronense building, more popularly known as the Nau Gaudí. The first work by Antoni Gaudí today houses the Bassat Contemporary Art Collection, but in 1878 it is where the bleaching of the cooperative's cotton took place. Its austere modernity is sure to take you by surprise..