The area between Caamaño and Monturiol streets was urbanized by Tomas Puig (1771-1835), a liberal lawyer who collaborated with the Napoleonic forces during the French invasion. After that war, he was forced into exile and his properties passed on to his granddaughter, Dolors de Puig, who would marry Narcís de Fonsdevila i Xammar, Marquis of La Torre. The land occupied the area between the current Plaça de la Palmera and the small square at the lower end of the Rambla, and sandwiched between the aforementioned streets.

In 1898, the Marchioness commissioned a new building to Josep Azemar Pont, the municipal architect, on the empty lot behind the backyard, at the edge of the house garden. His style was characterized by the use of historicist elements and ornaments made of high-quality materials. The resulting building, completed in 1900, was three stories high, with a terrace roof and three facades (two on Monturiol and Caamaño streets and one facing the Marchioness’s garden).

Salvador Dalí’s father set up his office on the ground floor while the family moved into the mezzanine. It is within these walls where the painter forged some of the memories and experiences that would mark him for life.

It was in the rooms of this house where Salvador Dalí built some of the memories and experiences that would later serve as the raw material for developing his unique artistic language.
Dalí's first home
In addition to the immediate family composed of notary Dalí and his wife Felipa Domènech, other relatives and a few neighbors lived in this property and got to know young Salvador Dalí.
The Building and the neighbors

His parents' bedroom

"Whennight fell, I didn't dare cross my parents' room because of the portrait of that brother and a reproduction of Velázquez's Christ." Even as an adult, Salvador Dalí remembered the qualms he felt when crossing his parents’ room, - as stated in The Passions According to Dalí, a book of interviews published in 1968. Not only because of the human suffering represented by Christ on the cross (a figure he would repeatedly paint as an adult), but also because of the portrait of his absent brother, a first Salvador Dalí who had died at the age of two. Nine months later, another child was born whom they also named Salvador. A common practice at the time that didn’t make it easy for someone entering the world with a name that carried connotations of loss. . Dalí would paint his brother and remember him, but above all, he would struggle to assert his own identity.

The bathroom

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom has been the most well-preserved room over time. There is no direct reference to this space among Dalí's childhood memories, although throughout his life scatology was a common and recurring topic in both his paintings and literature.

The kitchen

The kitchen, which has remained almost intact over time, was the most beloved space in the house for young Dalí. As he himself explains in his books, his parents forbade him from entering it. Driven by the desire to access that banned room, he spent hours spying on the women who worked there. His obsession reached such a point that at the age of six he said that he wanted to be a cook. Later on, food would often appear in his works as part of his peculiar dream world.

The gallery was one of the spaces in the house that young Salvador and his sister enjoyed the most. . It was actually a broad balcony that ran the length of the building from Monturiol to Caamaño Street. It was filled with flowerpots of tuberose and lilies, and there was an aviary where his mother raised canaries and pigeons, as well as a gazebo-like structure.

The lush chestnut trees in the Marquesa de la Torre's garden protected them from prying eyes and, unseen, they observed the surrounding houses and the bustling street while the music of the cobles (‘COH-bless’, local traditional music bands) playing sardanas on the Rambla reached their ears.

According to Anna Maria Dalí, her brother made his first drawings by scratching the red painting on a small table in this gallery with a spoon or fork.

In a text from his youth, reproduced in Noves imatges de Salvador Dalí (New Images of Salvador Dalí, 1988), Dalí states that from here, the appearance of the Marquesa de la Torre’s house in the moonlight reminded him of a Renaissance building in a Titian painting.

The notarial office

Salvador Dalí Cusí, Dalí’s father, was born in Cadaqués. He studied law in Barcelona and brilliantly passed the competitive exam to become a public notary. This allowed him to choose where he would be stationed and decided for Figueres, where he settled in 1900, due to his friendship with Pepito Pichot. He opened his office on the ground floor of the recently-built house. That same year, he married Felipa Domènech and the couple moved to the mezzanine.

Due to his profession, Dalí senior was connected with the prominent figures of the time in Figueres, who often visited his office.

The Matas

The married couple consisting of Pere Matas and Maria Elias was originally from Barcelona but in 1906 they settled in Figueres after living in Argentina, where their children were born. Among their offspring, Ursula stood out for her beauty. She was one of the women who inspired the main character of La Ben Plantada (The Good-Looking Woman), written by Eugeni d’Ors.

Mother and daughter often spent time in the gallery, where they ran into Felipa and Catalina. A close-knit friendship emerged from that neighborhood connection.

For young Dalí, the Matas family was the height of cosmopolitanism due to the customs they imported from Buenos Aires, such as drinking mate, a habit that the painter’s mother and aunt would also soon take up. Dalí includes a photo of “Ursulita” (little Ursula) Matas in his work The Secret life of Salvador Dalírecalling that she accompanied him on a visit to Park Güell in Barcelona.

His grandmother and his aunt

In 1920, when his maternal grandmother, Maria Anna Farrés, and his mother's sister, Aunt Catalina Domènech, left Barcelona to move to Figueres, they moved into the second floor of the building.

From that point on, they became prominent figures in the lives of notary Dalí's children; especially Catalina, who would end up playing an important role in the biography of her nephew and niece following Felipa's death.

The Subias

The high school professor Antoni Subias, a very close friend of notary Dalí, moved his family into one of the building’s apartments.

Joan Subias Galter, his son, had a deep passion for art, and this passion facilitated the continuation of the friendship that had begun between their parents, extending it to the next generation, even when the Dalí family moved to the other house on Monturiol Street and the Subias to Station Square.

The rooftop terrace

When Dalí was a child, a view of a broad strip of the Empordà Plain with the Sant Pere de Rodes Range as a backdrop could be enjoyed from the rooftop. The siblings played there when the women of the house went upstairs to do the laundry and hang the clothes to dry.

In "La vida secreta de Salvador Dalí" (The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí), the painter recalls that in 1910, a group of family friends gathered there to watch Halley's Comet passing, when its orbit approached the Earth as it does every seventy-six years.