Who has a cloister around their pool?

A 12th-century treasure comes to light in the garden of a private home in Girona

Professor of medieval art unveils discovery at art convention

The magnificent cloister, inside the garden of a private home in Girona. / VINCENT LEROUX

An exceptional 12th-century cloister has been sitting for half a decade inside the garden of a private home in Girona province without anyone knowing about it, except its owners and a few locals. Gerardo Boto, a professor of medieval art at Girona University, unveiled the discovery at a recent Barcelona art convention, where he amazed Romanesque architecture experts with a detailed description of the find, which is already being compared to the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos in Burgos.

Most remarkably, it does not show up in any official inventory, nor does it enjoy cultural protection from any public agency.

Boto found out about it in a magazine called AD , which in its July-August 2010 issue published a spectacular report on the home of a Swiss man named Kurt Englehorn and his wife Carmen. Mas del Vent, an enormous 22-hectare estate located within the town limits of Palamós, has an enormous set of Romanesque arches running around the swimming pool.

Boto tried unsuccessfully to obtain the owners' permission to inspect the site. But the photographs show two galleries with 10 unusually large arches each resting on double columns and capitals depicting rare human, animal and vegetable figures.

According to the magazine, the cloister was purchased by the homeowner's grandfather in the 1950s. Boto believes it was originally built in Segovia or Burgos.

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