The Pia Almoina is a Gothic mansion built from two Romanesque houses (13th century), which originally housed a charitable institution that distributed bread and clothing among the town’s poor, hence its name (Pious Alms in English).
Located in the historic centre of Banyoles, it has housed the Archaeological Museum of Banyoles since the museum was opened in 1932. It is a typical noble townhouse built in the Gothic style that stands out for its central square-cut courtyard and a magnificent Gothic gallery in the first floor featuring pointed arches and capitals with plant motifs made of nummulithic stone from Girona.
In the 14th century, the building became the seat of the Council or University of Banyoles (the equivalent to today’s Town Council), where it remained until 1928, when it moved to its current location in the Passeig de la Indústria.
The building conserves remains of Gothic mural painting, with zoomorphic figures, in the so-called Corominas room –the largest room in the building and probably where the Council met– and medieval graffiti in the present Prehistory room, one of which represents a soldier on his horse.
Over the years, the need to increase the space available for exhibits or storage has led to the purchase and inclusion of adjoining buildings, such as Can Fornells, Can Paulí or Can Xueta. The museum is currently undergoing a complete renovation, began in 2009, which, in a few years’ time, will endow it with modern facilities that can rival with the best Catalan museums.
For more information, www.museusdebanyoles.cat
Plaça de la Font, 11
Tel. 0034 972 57 23 61