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    • Day 9

      Palácio de Mateus

      March 18, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      The Mateus Palace (Palácio de Mateus or Casa de Mateus) is a palace located in the civil parish of Mateus, municipality of Vila Real, Portugal. Built in the first half of the 18C, this palace set in beautiful gardens on a vast farm is considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque civil architecture in Portugal.

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    • Day 8

      Our Visit to Albuquerque

      June 22, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

      The seventh Duke of Albuquerque lived in a lovely baroque palace built between the 16th and 19th centuries. The little neighborhood surrounding it is called Mateus, the name he gave to the rose wine many of us drank in our youth. The wine’s little squat bottle was inspired by canteens used by the Portuguese soldiers in World War I, and the image of this house appears on the label. The estate still produces wine, though the grapes that go into Mateus are produced a few miles away. The duke’s family still lives in the house, and much of it is open to the public. There is a reception room, a tea room, a smoking room, a dining room, and many more. I found the religion room to be especially interesting. A gloriously beautiful set of embroidered paraments with matching vestments was on display. They took eight years to make, and were used only once: at the Christmas mass of 1759. An elegant set of communion ware was also on display, with many reliquaries containing saints’ bones or teeth. The gardens were elegant and elaborate, maintained in amazing beauty by only four full time gardeners. A stroll among the wondrous roses, hydrangeas and juniper trees completed our visit, and then we headed for a winery.Read more

    • Day 33

      Mateus Palace

      October 16, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

      Following our wine and port tasting we headed off in the direction of Porto, our final destination. On the way we made one more stop in Vila Real, a hilltop town above the confluence of the Corgo and Cabral rivers, to visit the Mateus Palace. We toured the stunning 18th century Baroque Palace and manicured gardens which were lovely, but just a little soggy!

      The Palace was built in 1743 by architect, Nicolau Nasoni. The three primary buildings are the palace, the winery and the chapel. The work was authorized by António José Botelho Mourão, 3rd Morgado of Mateus, who was quite the visionary. The current palace replaced the former family house which was built in the same location in the early 1600’s. In 1910, it was classified as a National Monument.

      There have been 16 generations in the house. Currently the 15th and 16th generations live there. Only one third of the U-shaped house is open to the public. We were able to visit the library, the large formal reception room, the dining room, the smoking room, the four seasons room, the religious room and the Ladies social room. Chestnut wood is used extensively throughout the house, most likely because the palace is situated in a chestnut tree forest and supplies were plentiful.

      In the library there are over 4,000 books, predominantly from the 15th century, hand written in French and illustrated. In one room there are religious relics that have been certified by the Vatican. Several of the ceilings are intricately carved chestnut and the furniture is from several periods. The paintings are mainly 17th & 18th century and many of the rugs are 10th century. There are numerous other treasures in the form of silverware, pottery and artwork scattered throughout the rooms.

      The dining room is still used by the family, mainly at Christmas and on other special occasions such as birthdays. There are four cupboards in the dining room but one is fake and has a staircase in it that leads to the kitchen that is situated directly below. There is a chef on staff and she bakes a range of things daily that are sold in the coffee shop. We had the small meat pies, savoury vegetable pies and cookies for lunch and they were all delicious.

      Parts of the garden had been planted in the 1700’s, modified in 1870 and expanded in 1930. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the garden was extensively modified and the lake was added to act as a mirror reflecting the manor house. The sculpture of a woman “sleeping” in the water was created by João Cutileiro and installed in 1981.

      The name Mateus is synonymous with Mateus rosé, but there is no connection with the family. The name and image of the house was sold over 100 years ago to the group that produces Mateus rosé. The palace is currently owned by the Mateus Foundation.
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