Plaça del Pi – Plaça Sant Josep Oriol – Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi | Barcelona Bus Turístic

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Plaça del Pi – Plaça Sant Josep Oriol – Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi

One of the most enchanting corners of the Gothic Quarter

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A Gothic basilica and the two picturesque squares that surround it form one of the most enchanting corners of the Gothic Quarter. The old cemeteries that surrounded the 14th-century church are now small squares where painters and artisans exhibit their works.

Why visit the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi?

The basilica dedicated to Saint Mary of the Pine was built in the Catalan Gothic style in the 14th century in what is now the picturesque Plaça del Pi in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. The church consists of a single nave some 54 metres long, 17.5 metres wide and 27 metres tall, with a polygonal apse and side chapels located between its Gothic buttresses.

Under its two towers and enormous octagonal bell tower, the facade features a 14th-century rose window with 12 petals over the door. It is a reconstruction undertaken in 1943 by Josep Maria Jujol, who based his design on photographs of the original, which had been destroyed in 1936 in a fire, and studies of the rose windows at the monasteries of Pedralbes and Sant Cugat. The altar, which was made in 1967 by Joaquim de Ros i de Ramis during the restoration of the church, is presided over by a 14th-century Gothic sculpture of the Virgin Mary.

The basilica’s three cemeteries are now occupied by the charming squares located around it. Plaça del Pi, which is in front of the main door of the church, used to be a plain between two streams and the old westward Roman road from the city and was characterised by having a remarkable pine tree. Popular tradition has it that one of the sailors who survived the Saracen invasion found an image of the Virgin Mary at the top of a pine tree, and the chapel built in honour of this holy discovery became the church dedicated to Saint Mary of the Pine you see today. The tree eventually died and was replaced with another one to perpetuate the memory, but unfortunately this new pine tree, which was still standing at the time of the French invasion, met its end when one of Napoleon’s soldiers pierced its trunk with his bayonet. So another pine tree was planted in its place, and then another one after that and so on until the current one, which was planted in 1985. In addition to the Gothic basilica, Plaça del Pi is also home to the Casa dels Tenders Revenedors, the 18th-century building of the Guild of Traders, which features profuse sgraffito decoration.

The main cemetery of the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi was the space now occupied by Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, on the side of the church. In this bohemian square, where every week painters show off their works, you will find a sculpture of the writer Àngel Guimerà by Josep Cardona i Furró; Palau Fivaller, a 16th-century building that is now home to a farmers’ association called the Institut Agrícola Català de Sant Isidre; and hidden at the top of the door of one of the buildings in the square, a statue of Saint Joseph Oriol.

 

How do you get to the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi?  

From the Barri Gòtic stop on the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic you can stroll through the Gothic Quarter to the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi and its squares.

 

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? On the top of the bell tower of Basílica de Sant Maria del Pi there is a circular terrace where you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the entire centre of Barcelona.
  • Local’s tip: A gastronomic fair featuring typical Catalan products like cheese, honey, wine and cake is held every month by an association of food artisans. Don’t miss it!
  • A must: For fans of Gothic architecture.