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The origins of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia can be traced back to the old parish of Sant Sadurní de Subirats, which ultimately obtained municipal independence in 1764 and became a town. It was then that it adopted its actual name after the Anoia River, which crosses the central part of town’s territory.
At that time, the main livelihood of the population consisted in the cultivation of vineyards and the production of wine. Thanks to the position of the town and the availability of land suitable for growing vineyards, Sant Sadurní d’Anoia was able to develop and prosper in this agricultural sector during most of the 1800’s, ultimately reaching its most successful period.
However, in 1887 the phylloxera plague reached the town after having previously ruined the French vineyards. Likewise it devastated the vineyards and destroyed the town’s economic prosperity and stability. The population fought against the plague by ripping out whole vineyards and replacing prior vines with American rootstock vines, which were fortunately resistant to the plague. With this intervention, the town was able to save what had previously been a prosperous agricultural sector and in the years to come, achieve great success with their crops and related products of wine and cava. The Festival of The Phylloxera Plague on 7th-8th September aims to show reverence towards this difficult period of poverty through various dances and plays.
At present, Sant Sadurní is the indisputable Capital of Cava. More than eighty local manufacturers produce ninety per cent of Spain’s domestic cava. The current CIC Fassina Cava Interpretation Centre, located in an old distillery built in 1814, provides an exhaustive introduction to the world of Cava, its history and production process as well as grape varieties using interactive digital information tools.
The town itself is also very interesting. Start at Raval street, with its old defence tower (1873) at one end, and the Church square, with its gothic steeple, at the other. The Codorníu Winery (1906), built by the famous architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch in the Art Nouveau style and classified as a National Historic and Artistic Monument, and the Freixenet Winery (1927), which attract attention for the colourful glazed ceramics found in the wave shaped cornice, are worth a visit.
Aforesaid Art Nouveau, that arrived with the resurgence of the wine-growing industry, often include a mixture of other styles and resemble what is known as Eclecticism. This architectural mixture can be seen in the former homes of Lluís Mestres (1909), Cal Rigol (1903), Cal Calixtus (1885), the Agricultural Athenaeum (1908-1909), the Town Hall (1896-1900) and the Santacana Roig Storehouse (1905). All of these buildings shape the historical city centre that has been recently remodeled into a pedestrian precinct and commercial area in order to preserve the town’s heritage.
Plan your stay in Sant Sadurní visiting the website of Turisme Sant Sadurní that has partly been the source of this article. There you will find a series of activities relating to this sparkling drink, like a bike tour through the vineyards.