Palau del Marquès d’Alella – Finca Muñoz Ramonet Garden | Barcelona Bus Turístic

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Palau del Marquès d’Alella – Finca Muñoz Ramonet Garden

The palace and gardens of the founder of a cotton empire

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A Noucentista palace designed by Enric Sagnier surrounded by gardens designed by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, its ownership was disputed for 15 years. The Palau del Marquès d’Alella, which was the residence of the entrepreneur Julio Muñoz Ramonet, is an architectural complex that takes you back to the splendour of the first quarter of the 20th century.

Why visit Palau del Marquès d’Alella and the Muñoz Ramonet Gardens?

The Can Fabra estate, as it was first known, belonged to Ferran Fabra i Puig, who was the second Marquis of Alella and the Mayor of Barcelona from May 1922 to September 1923. From 1912 to 1914, the architect Enric Sagnier, who designed the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor at Tibidabo and the Barcelona Modernisme Museum, among other buildings, constructed the main house, a four-storey Noucentista building with a rectangular floor plan, two towers and a loggia of Roman arches at the entrance. The main facade stands out as it is decorated with carved stone volutes and corbels, while the crownings of the towers are plateresque.

The garden was designed in 1916 by the French landscaper Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, who introduced the so-called ‘Mediterranean Garden’ to Spain and was responsible for the Laribal and Miramar gardens on Montjuïc. The main element of the original project was a rectangular pond with a fountain surrounded by rosebushes and U-shaped pergolas. The garden, which covers a surface area of 4,123 m², had a terrace structure with steps to access the various levels.

After the Spanish Civil War, in 1945, the entrepreneur who controlled cotton importation quotas, Julio Muñoz Ramonet, acquired the estate along with his bother Álvaro and, in 1956 and 1957, he commissioned the landscaper Joan Mirambell i Ferran to remodel the garden to. Mirambell i Ferran changed its structure and orientation, moved the pergola and replaced the flowerbed at the side of the tower with a swimming pool.

Upon his demise in 1991, Muñoz Ramonet left the entire estate, made up of the main building, the gardens, the annexed building where his mother had lived and the art collection contained in the palace, which included furniture, jewels, and paintings by Goya and El Greco, to Barcelona City Council, but this legacy was paralysed because his daughters contested it in a long suit that lasted fifteen years. Finally, after being legally recognised as municipal property, the garden was restored and opened to the public in 2016.

 

How do you get to Palau del Marquès d’Alella?

Hop off at the Diagonal – Francesc Macià stop on either the Blue Route or the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic and walk up Carrer de Muntaner to the palace.

 

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? Muñoz Ramonet’s influence was so great that it was said that only God was more powerful. He died in 1991 and left his house and extremely valuable collection of art to the city of Barcelona, but his daughters decided to keep this information to themselves. It was not until 1994, when the German painter Bernd Walter exacted his revenge on them for not having paid their father’s debt to him by writing a letter on the matter to Barcelona City Council, that their deception was revealed.
  • Local’s tip: If you want some peace and quiet when you are in this area, enter the gardens. As they were designed for residential use, they are not as large as other parks, which means they are not full of joggers, cyclists and people playing ball games.
  • A must: To see how the haute-bourgeoisie lived in the 20th century.