The history of Can Papiol

Can Papiol is much more than a house, it is the symbol of a dynasty. Its severe neo-classical façade conceals opulent rooms decorated with a wealth of detail which were once frequented by the cream of local society.

The family moved into the house in 1801, when Francesc de Papiol, his mother and his two sisters took up residence. As Francesc died without direct descendants in 1817, his nephews became the heirs to the property. Successive generations continued to occupy the house until 1959, first with the surname Rubinat and later with the surname Torrents.

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The house

Francesc de Papiol i de Padró had the house built. Work began in 1790 and it took eleven years to complete. He knew that the construction of this building would add to the family’s status and it would remain as a monument after their lifetimes. The location was very central, in the main street, one of the town’s most important arteries, very near Sant Antoni church and the old town hall.

The site

The land on which it was built had been a vegetable garden to the north of the town, which already belonged to the Papiol family. Master builder Joan Pau Petxamé was formally requested to oversee the project. The building was to consist of a ground floor, mezzanine, main floor, plus two upper floors which were not so high and contained a large number of bedrooms for members of the family and for servants.

The façade

The façade which looks on to Carrer Major, the most visible external part of the building, is entirely neo-classical in style. It is decorated with fluted pilasters and composite capitals painted directly on the white background of the wall. The balconies, as can be seen from below, are covered with patterns of green and white tiles, a common style of decoration in Catalonia at that time.

An interesting detail is the heraldic shield sculpted in stone and placed just above the main entrance, which identified the owners of the house. Its four quarters show the arms of the different branches of the dynasty that had been brought together: the Padró family (a lion and a pilaster), the Catà family (a dog), the Martí family (the sea and a fish), the Argullol family (with a plant motif) and the insignia of the Papiol family (with a horizontal strip).