A walk through the history of Mataro
Mataró was born around 80 CE, when the Roman city of Iluro was founded. It was built on a small raised part of the coastal plain, where the city’s old town is now located. Iluro became one of the most important cities of Roman Catalonia, until the third century, when the Roman Empire began to decline and practically abandoned the area.
No more documentary evidence exists of Mataró until 801, when it is recorded under the toponym of Alarona. It was a village that would later be called Civitas Fractai, the seed from which medieval Mataró would grow.
Mataró became a small medieval town, which, from the tenth century onward, would be structured around the Santa Maria Basilica. This town, made up of farmers under the rule of the feudal lords of Castell de Mata, was brought under the authority of Barcelona in 1424 by virtue of a decree from King Alfonso the Magnanimous. The chains of feudalism were thus broken.
Despite not having a port, Mataró looked to the sea. Cargo boats from all over the world unloaded their goods on Mataró’s beaches to avoid the taxes and tariffs imposed by the Port of Barcelona. Many Mataró locals saw maritime trade as a great opportunity and decided to go to America to make their fortune. Some triumphed and came home enormously wealthy, then used their money to drive the Industrial Revolution and fund the Modernism movement.
The most famous of these businessmen was Miquel Biada, who brought the first railway in the Iberian Peninsula to the city. The first textile and knitting and hosiery factories made the most of this innovation, and Mataró became one of the most important industrial cities in the country. The textile industry attracted new residents to the city, who came from all over to work there. This phenomenon meant new neighborhoods were built for the workers, transforming the face of the city.
Mataró, a beautiful city to discover
Mataró is a Mediterranean city well worth visiting at any time of the year! The capital of Maresme county, with population of over 127,000, the city occupies a superb location, lying between the sea and the Serralada Litoral mountains. Just 30 minutes from Barcelona, Mataró is also very near to some of the finest tourist resorts in the county.
Moreover, Mataró carefully conserves its traditions, history, heritage, culture and natural landscapes for the enjoyment of visitors and locals alike.
A stroll around the city centre reveals a huge variety of quality shops and restaurants, as well as the El Rengle and Plaça de Cuba traditional markets, where we can find many products certified as local by the Collits a Casa brand.
All these facilities are combined with a pleasant, attractive environment in which the visitor is frequently surprised by examples of the rich local heritage: Roman remains from the ancient city of Iluro; the beautiful baroque Chapel of Els Dolors in the Basilica of Santa Maria; and Nau Gaudí, the first work by the Modernista (Art Nouveau) architect Antoni Gaudí, which now houses the Museum of Contemporary Art, with works from the Bassat Collection, to name but three. Visitors can discover this outstanding heritage by taking guided tours or using the free audio guide service, which is available in five languages (Catalan, Spanish, English, French and Russian).
If you go down to the sea front, you will find beaches that have been awarded “Q” for tourism quality certification, ideal for a lovely swim. The restaurant and leisure facilities here are complemented by the amenities at the Port of Mataró, a marina with more than one thousand mooring places where water and underwater activities are available throughout the year. In June, Mataró welcomes the summer with the Port Festival, during which many events are organised to enable visitors to enjoy the sea.
And if the mountains are your passion, you can walk or cycle through the Montnegre i Corredor Natural Park, while adventure-lovers are sure to enjoy the Vertical Wood in the Forest Park.
Mataró is great to visit throughout the year, but the activities here really intensify in summer: in early-July, we have Fiorgue, one of the leading international festivals of organ music; in late-July, the city explodes into life during the Festa Major de Les Santes, celebrations catalogued as a Heritage Festival of National Interest. The activities organised during this festivity include giants, firework displays, concerts, Nit Boja (“Mad Night”) and castells (human towers), unique in the world.
An ideal city to discover in every moment of the year.
La Riera, 48. 08301 Mataró
Telephone: (+34) 937 582 698
Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 1PM and 5 PM – 7 PM
Sunday and bank holidays 9.30 AM – 1.30 PM (except from October to Easter, bank holidays closed)
July and August: Monday – Sunday 10 AM –1 PM and 5 PM–7 PM
Tourist Information Point
Plaça de Miquel Biada, 5 08301 Mataró
Phone: (+34) 937 582 253
July and August: Monday – Saturday 10 AM –7 PM de 10 a 19 h