Horta de Sant Joan, with its impressive backdrop of the Ports cliffs, is a very attractive town for a leisurely visit. Its Gothic church or the convent of Sant Salvador, at the foot of the unique mountain of Santa Bàrbara, are spaces that do not go unnoticed. In addition, however, the people of Orta – written as some scholars argue – maintained a very special relationship with Pablo Picasso. The great painter once said that “everything I know I learned in Horta.” He spent two stays there. The first took place in 1898, when he arrived convalescent, at the age of sixteen and in the company of his friend Manuel Pallarès, son of the village. During that stay Picasso underwent a real transformation in contact with the wild nature of Els Ports and the rural world of Orta. On one occasion he said that there he had experienced “my purest emotions.”
The second stay took place in the summer of 1909. Picasso was already a prestigious young painter among the Parisian avant-garde and arrived with his companion Fernande Olivier, who caused a great sensation among the local population. Experts consider that it was in Orta where Picasso’s cubism was born. The Picasso Center in Orta currently offers an inspiring visit to the life, work of the painter and his stay in the town.