This wonderful garden was landscaped in a setting of great beauty, on top of a cliff with breath-taking views over the sea, and it is a fine specimen of the spirit that animated the Noucentista movement in Catalonia (an early twentieth-century movement for intellectual and aesthetic renewal that found a distinguished spokesman in the locally famous writer Eugeni d’Ors). The Santa Clotilde gardens were designed in the manner of the dainty yet austere gardens of the Italian Renaissance by Nicolau Rubió i Tuduri at the age of twenty-eight, when he was still brimming over with admiration for his master in the art of landscape gardening, Forestier. In these gardens, Rubió ignored Forestier’s teachings with their Spanish-Arabic slant mixed up with images of the French garden, as he had seen when working with Forestier on the Montjuïc gardens, and instead sought to recover the spirit of the Italian Renaissance as the essence of modernity.
A new bourgeoisie was then emerging, looking back nostalgically on the prestige enjoyed by patrons of the arts during the Renaissance. They constitute a true example of the essence of the noucentista movement in Catalonia. Sculptures, fountains and ponds can all be found there. The gardens have been declared a site of national cultural interest. At Santa Clotilde, the desires of the customer (the Marquis of Roviralta) and the knowledge of the artist proved symbiotic, forming a living dialectic between the two that favoured the creation of this work of art. Thanks to the garden’s perfect state of conservation, those symmetries and visual concentrations, and that layout of content that we associate with Italian gardens of the Cinquecento and Seicento, are still there today.
The garden thus gained formal independence from its setting, and one of the constant features of the landscape-gardening work of Rubió made its appearance: the merging of the garden with nature. Despite the full freedom of form of this garden, certain groups of trees or even rows of trees merge with the entire landscape surrounding the garden, and the strongly defined, perfectly straight visual axes lead us to various points of interest terminating in ornamental items, such as statues or small fountains that seek to some extent to break up the uniformity of the layout. Overlapping terraces, criss- cross paths, ramps and steps shape the garden, accompanied everywhere by the constant murmur of water: the still waters of the grotto pond; the water jets of the many fountains and springs that combine to form a endless gallery of rain; and, in the background, the sea, pervading the land with its intensely salty tang.
The garden greets us with a blend of features from the Villa Medici, the Villa Borghese and perhaps the Boboli gardens as well – Florence was where one went for inspiration at the time. The spirit of romanticism underlies the garden, expressed in the marble bust glimpsed amid the vines, looking out to sea with its back to us – another delightful parody of that romantic sentiment of union with nature, closer to Leopardi than to his master C.D. Friedrich. These gardens, work on which began before the house, feature a collection of marble statues in the neo-classical style and the mermaids by the sculptress Maria Llimona.
April to October:
from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm
November to January:
from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm
February and March:
from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm
Last admission 1 hour before closing time.
Closed on 25th of December and 1st and 6th of January
Prices: Adults: 5 euros. Reduced price: 2,50 euros (pensioners, youth card holders, student card holders, family book and people with disabilities). Groups (more than 25 persons): Price on request.
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