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Discover the Girona region’s most surprising museums
Banyoles. Lluis Reverter.
At one end of the Banyoles Lake in Pla de l’Estany, there is a small town that contains the must-see Can Ginebreda Sculpture Forest. Hidden among the pines, holms, oaks and strawberry trees you will find dozens of sculptures by local artist, Xicu Cabanyes, which are a celebration of the human body depicted in a variety of forms and materials. Stroll around this authentic open-air erotic museum, with its display of breasts, bottoms and penises, for a daring, seductive, inspiring and provocative art experience. This is the first of a series of top recommendations we will be bringing you in this article about a range of small, curious, alternative museums that are sure to make your trip to the Girona region even more memorable.
Whether you’re a smoker or not, you can’t fail to be drawn in by the Alt Empordà region’s Pipe Museum in Maçanet de Cabrenys. This comprehensive permanent exhibition traces Maçanet’s close links with the tradition of pipe making over the centuries. The museum centre was set up by Segimon Baulenas, who followed in his own father’s footsteps to become a pipe maker by trade, working locally at the town’s old Salvatella factory until it closed at the end of the twentieth century. And that’s where you will find him, pipe in hand and always up for a chat.
Llívia. Maria Geli i Pilar Planagumà.
Did you know that Llívia, in Cerdanya is home to one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe? Master formulas were being prepared there as long ago as 1415! Jaume Esteve is thought to be one of the pharmacy’s first owners, marking the start of a family tradition that spanned several generations and went on until after the Civil War. The Esteve Pharmacy Museum opened its doors in 1981, offering us a glimpse into the past courtesy of all the materials preserved there: laboratory instruments, wooden boxes, glass and ceramic jars, the valuable book of formulas and various pieces of furniture, such as the cabinet in which the most valuable and dangerous products were kept.
Santa Cristina d’Aro. Pep Iglesias.
Our next recommendation takes us to an eighteenth-century Catalan farmhouse in Baix Empordà’s Santa Cristina d’Aro, which, courtesy of the popular illusionist Xevi, has left its agricultural past behind and been transformed into the Grand Museum of Magic. The museum contains the former magician’s private collection of automata, decks of cards, tarot cards, photographs, paintings, magic books and magical devices from a bygone era, all exhibited in rooms with a host of attractions. The museum is no trick of the light (it’s very real!) as the recipient of many awards and recognition for being the largest and most original magic museum in the world.
We wrap up this journey to some of the Girona region’s most eccentric museums with a visit to the delicious Trias Biscuits Museum. Located in Santa Coloma de Farners in the Selva region, this centre invites us to learn the story of a family that have been in the cake and biscuit making business for more than 100 years. Who was Joaquim Trias? Do his old recipe books still exist? What was behind the concept of their famous tins? How were their famous teules originally made? Visit the beautiful replica of the old Trias bakery to find out.