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Vilanova i la Geltru

Vilanova i la Geltrú is a city in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and the capital of the Garraf comarca. Historically a fishing port, the city has a growing population of approximately 66,000, and is situated 40 km south-west of Barcelona, with the more famous coastal resort of Sitges some 10 km to the north-east. During the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939–75), the city's name was castilianized as Villanueva y Geltrú as part of the Anti-Catalan policies of the era.The town has a long history, and experienced an efflorescence during the Romantic period evidenced by a wealth of opulent 19th century buildings. The atmospheric town square, the Plaça de la Vila, and many of its iconic public buildings were principally financed by Josep Tomàs Ventosa Soler (1797-1874) a textile magnate who made his fortune in Cuba. A monument featuring a bronze statue of Ventosa stands in the center of the square. An identical monument stands in Matanzas, Cuba, where both statues were forged. Today, children play around the monument and agile climbers from castellers to protestors to carnival pranksters climb the statue and adorn it with their own symbols (see photo).During the dictatorship, large numbers of people fleeing poverty in Southern Spain settled in Vilanova, they are sometimes referred to by historians as "fugitives of fascism." Although they experienced prejudice they became increasingly accepted and known as els altres Vilanovins or "the other Vilanovins." By 1970, a majority of the town's population had been born elsewhere. In the first decade of the 21st century, there was another wave of immigrants (called nouvinguts or "newcomers" locally), this time primarily from North Africa, South America and Eastern Europe.
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