Is it possible to feel like a bourgeois of the early 20th century by visiting a Romanesque monastery? Sant Benet de Bages shows how heritage adapts to new uses over time. In this case, a medieval monastery that became the summer residence of Ramon Casas’s family and finally the tourist and cultural centre that it is today.
The first church (pre-Romanesque) was consecrated in 972 with a community of twelve monks. However, it was not until the 12th century that the abbey would experience its period of splendor, with the construction of a new church and the cloister. The latter of these is the true Romanesque star of the group. Between the pillars there are semi-circular arches that rest on double columns with sculpted capitals, all of them original.
As a result of the confiscation by Mendizábal, the monastery was abandoned. It was in the year 1907, that Elisa Carbó i Ferrer, mother of the painter Ramon Casas, bought the land of Sant Benet and adapted the quarters of the monastic community to create a residence. The renovation was designed by another illustrious name: Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Particularly outstanding is the modernista (Art Nouveau) terrace, which occupies part of the old cells of the monks.
Today, through the use of new technologies, the visitor can delve into the building’s monastic history and modernista past. Moreover, in 2007 in the surroundings of the monastery, a complex known as Món Sant Benet was opened, which in addition to disseminating heritage, also focuses on gastronomy and the landscape.