Museu Casa Castellarnau - Castellarnau House Museum, Tarragona
The Castellarnau House Museum is situated along Cavallers Street, a street were many noble families had their homes. The mansion was bought by the Castellarnau family in 1764. In 1954 it was given to the municipality and in 1977 it opened up as a museum. On the ground floor there are temporary exhibitions in rooms where the walls are painted with romantic landscapes. The kitchen is also on the ground floor.
From a nice courtyard stairs are leading up to the main floor, where there are bedrooms, a music room, a billiard room, a library-study and a dinning room. The largest room , in the middle, have a painted roof with mythological motifs. On the floors there are tiles in different patterns.
From Easter to September the Castellarnau House is open between 9 - 21, on Tuesday - Saturday, and between 9 - 15 on Sundays.
October to Easter the Castellarnau House is open between 9 - 119 on Tuesday - Saturday and between 10 - 15 on Sundays.
Entrance fee was 2.45 Euro (March 2008).
I had the combination ticket for 9.25 Euro.
On the east side of the second floor we explored the interior of a pretty 18th century pharmacy, moved here when the original premises just down the street collapsed. The furniture is in the style of Queen Isabella II. The Museu Casa Castellarnau (the Castellarnau House) houses a permanent exhibition of the Mola Collection, a disparate selection of archaeological and ethnographic exhibits from a wide time span; the Quintana legacy with a model of the first plane to fly over Tarragona in 1913; and the collection belonging to the philologist and critic from Madrid, Sánchez Camargo.
We continued our self guided tour and enjoyed beautiful city views from the terrace. As it happens often with historical buildings, there are numerous legends surrounding this mansion. One of them at the Museu Casa Castellarnau is the ghost story. Many local people feared to be at night near the house due to the chilling shouts that sometimes were heared. We did not hear the chilling shouts during our visit. Sounds of music an laughing came through the second storey open windows, from the musical school across the narrow cobblestone Carrer dev Cavallers Street.
Like we already said before, the Museu Casa Castellarnau (Castellarnau House) was built at the beginning of the 15th century and was home to one of the city's most influential families until the 19th century. In 1542 Emperor Charles I even resided here during his stay in the city of Tarragona. It's a beautiful Gothic building, but with many additions and tranformations. On the ground floor there is a series of arches dating from the 14th - 15th centuries. From the same time and period are the patio and staircase with its amazing Gothic colums and capitals.
We kept on walking and kind of fell in love with this place. All the rooms were so beautiful, it was just great. At that point we came to the interior courtyard and we can honestly say that this courtyard alone rewards a visit to the Museu Casa Castellarnau. To our surprise you can have a cup of coffee here, and so we did. After that we visited the second floor, which has retained its 18th century fittings, with vast chandeliers dripping from fresoed ceilings.
To us the Museu Casa Castellarnau (the Castellarnau House) was a well hidden gem. We did not read anything about it on the internet and in the guidebook. We were talking to someone we met at the beach about Tarragona and we told him what we saw so far and where we had our mind set on to visit. He did understand our choices, but convinced us to visit the Museu Casa Castellarnau. To him this museum was his favorite one in Tarragona. We strongly believe that the tips and advices we recieve from locals are much more valuable than any guidebook, so we found our way to the Museu Casa Castellarnau, located on the ancient Carrer dev Cavallers.
When we arrived we saw a wonderfully preserved medieval house and we learned at a later time that it was built in the 15the century. The name of the museum is quite obvious, as Jose Antonio de Castellarnau used to live here. He was the main promotor for the construction of the port of Tarragona. The entrance fee was rather low -> €3,50 per adult, and the children could get in for free. So off we went, time to enter the museum.
If you're into the lives of the rich and famous of 19th Century Catalunya, a trip to the Casa Museu de la Castellarnau is a must on any trip to Tarragona. The house itself is a mansion built in the Middle Ages, but the interior is stacked with decorations and furniture from the 18th and 19th century. There are, however, some interesting medicine chests and bottles that pre-date the majority of the museum's collection. The dining room is especially impressive, although the kitchen provides the visitor with more information about life before electric appliances. There is also a tapestry in the foyer donated to the museum by the famed Catalan artist Miró.