Sant Pere Desplà
nestles between two crests, at a height of 750 m. Standing amid pasture land and woods, the Romanesque buildings occupy a privileged spot. From its location atop a little hillock, the hermitage presides over the Can Ferrer
property (tenth-eleventh century), a farmhouse residence that has been turned into a restaurant for banquets.
The first thing that catches the eye in the chapel is an apse with a window, and a single-walled belfry that was added later on. The real treasure of the hermitage, however, lies within. The entrance is on one of the side walls, the one closest to the farmhouse, and it is a double-arched chequered doorway giving onto a single nave. The interior is austere, with cleanly-drawn lines and featuring utter simplicity. All the decor there is in the hermitage is concentrated in the remains of paintings that can dimly be made out on the walls. That pictorial set, featuring scenes from the scriptures, dates back to the ninth and tenth centuries, and its historical value lies in its being one of the oldest pre-Romanesque paintings to be found in Catalonia.
There is an atmosphere of almost magical peace inside the hermitage, and the fact is that the chapel has its own legend. It is said that the key that once locked the door had special powers, and could cure rabies. It seems that it had to be applied red-hot on wounds, and a number of prayers had to be said. That key was lost when the hermitage was used as a stable. Visitors can ask for the key that opens the door nowadays in Can Ferrer
The interior of the little chapel.
It is also recounted that one of the daughters of the Can Ferrer
family, Joana, left Sant Pere Desplà
to marry her fiancé, Joan Sala of Viladrau. And it was one of the children born of that marriage that made a name for himself among the bandits of the day as Joan de Serrallonga
, one of the mythical figures of these lands