Vilafranca del Penedès is the capital of the Alt Penedès and is the wine capital. It is one of the most important medium-sized towns in Catalonia due to its strategic location, good communications and because it is capital of a region, the Alt Penedès, with a strong winemaking tradition. The production of wine has marked its character, culture and traditions. Vilafranca has ably combined mediaeval nobility with the new tendencies typical of a modern commercial, cultural and services centre.
A little history
Vilafranca del Penedès was born in the early 12th century, around an old tower named Dela, in an imprecise place, close to the Via Augusta. The town was already settled by the times of Ramon Berenguer and various factors influenced the growth of the town's original centre: its geographical location, the privileges granted to it, its calm approach to the Saracens and the impetus given to it by the Count of Barcelona.
THE MODERN AGE
Until the mid-14th century, there was a period of growth in Vilafranca. From halfway through this century, a series of calamities, epidemics and wars began that had strong influence on our town. These episodes began with the poor harvests. The year 1333 is known as the first bad year. It would continue with the plague of 1348 and others that followed. Different epidemics of illness, cholera, flue, etc., affected Vilafranca in the years 1530, 1558, 1564, along with the Rebellion of the Remences (1483-1486), the Reapers' War and the War of the Spanish Succession (1705-1715).
Despite this general situation, the economic and commercial activity of Vilafranca never ceased, even though it was not the same as in previous centuries that marked all this period all around Catalonia.
THE CONTEMPORARY AGE
In the period between 1950 and 1981, Vilafranca saw major growth. It became hoem to diverse industries and the wine and cava sector developed extensively. Vilafranca is today one of the main medium-sized towns in Catalonia, an economic and commercial centre with services and good communications that bring it close to the main cities in Catalonia and Spain. Vilafranca del Penedès, is heritage, is landscape, is tradition and is castells.