Ways of Being and Doing

Quinta da Bacalhoa and Palácio da Bacalhoa, the History of these Jewels!

Bacalhoa Palace

The Palácio e Quinta da Bacalhoa is a place with more than 500 years of history. The area surrounding the Palace, today called Quinta da Bacalhoa, has been known since the beginning of its nationality.

The History of the Quinta and the Bacalhoa Palace

The current area of ​​the Quinta belongs to the Setúbal Municipality and was conquered by D. Afonso Henriques, first King of Portugal.

However, in 1190 it was reconquered by the Moors, when D. Sancho I, son of Afonso Henriques, had to concentrate his forces to the north of Portugal to defend the territory from the attacks of Leão and Castile.

The Moors aware of the situation continued to progress north and were contained and defeated in the battle of Tomar, with the precious help of the Templars.

Only in 1218, after these lands were regained, D. Afonso II implemented “inquiries” and “confirmations” as a way of controlling the assets of the nobility and the clergy.

The lands of the current Quinta da Bacalhoa then became known and registered.

King D. João I, the first of the Avis dynasty, was its owner and passed it on to his son, João, Infante de Portugal, in 1427.

Infante João's daughter, Dª Brites inherited the property in 1447 and built the Palace on it.

This Quinta, came to be known as Vila Fresca or Villa Fraiche, to give a more "noble" air to a property of the Avis family.

It was sold in 1528 to Brás de Albuquerque, son of Afonso de Albuquerque, who had traveled through Italy and fell in love with the Italian Renaissance.

Afonso de Albuquerque, Governor of India between 1509 and 1515, was the second European to build a city in Asia, after Alexander the Great of Macedonia (356-323 BC).

After Brás de Albuquerque acquired the property, known at the time as Quinta da Condestabelessa, it deeply remodeled the Palace.

The works took 26 years to finish the architectural part and another 11, to cover the entire Palace with tiles.

A dream come true after 37 years!

In 1609 the property passed to Dª Maria de Mendonça and Albuquerque. Married to D. Jerónimo Manuel, commander of the fleet of the Indies and with the nickname “Bacalhau” for trading the said species. It is after these times that the farm is renamed “Bacalhoa”.

The Quinta and the Bacalhoa Palace have been in the possession of the Albuquerque family for over three centuries.

It is bought by King D. Carlos at the beginning of the XNUMXth century and sold to Raul Martins Leitão.

He went into insolvency and sold the already ruined property to Orlena Scoville in 1937.

It is this American lady, passionate about art and Portugal, who rebuilds the Palace and what remains of the tiles, medallions and busts, many vandalized or sold to Italy.

In 2000, Thomas Scoville, grandson of Orlena Scoville, sold the property to Joe Berardo and is now owned by Bacalhoa Vinhos.

Lake House and Gardens

Casa do Lago, tank house or pleasure house is covered with tiles and has a lake in front of it and a garden around it.

It is the recreational area, for walking and enjoying nature.

The housing is no longer so closed and is turned to nature.

The garden combines the typical boxwood garden of the Renaissance playground with Portuguese orangery, which has since been replaced by vines.

The tank that was initially intended only for irrigation, becomes a monumental element of the garden.

The first tiles came from Seville, but Brás de Albuquerque soon realized that he would have to make them more genuinely Portuguese.

Casa do Lago Tiles
Casa do Lago Tiles

Here is the Portuguese tile that was beginning to emerge and took a big boost with this visionary of art.

This XNUMXth century Palace is considered to be the most important repository of the beginnings of Portuguese tiles.

The Quinta da Bacalhoa

The farm produced wine and oil.

Olive oil was very common in this area, with many olive groves.

Vila Fresca de Azeitão owes the name "de Azeitão" to the extensive olive groves that existed in Arab times.

The Berardo Foundation transplanted an ancient olive tree when the Alqueva, the largest man-made lake in Europe, was built. The olive tree is in front of the Quinta da Bacalhoa headquarters.

It would have been planted by the Romans, around 300 BC As the inscription says "the Romans took olives from this tree, before Jesus Christ did the miracles of the multiplication of bread ...". It is therefore an almost divine sensation, to touch this tree.

The wine was also produced on the farm, but it was Orlene de Scoville who had Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot planted.

Even today these vineyards are maintained and their cultivation increased.

Location of the Palace and Quinta da Bacalhoa

In Vila Fresca de Azeitão, the Palace is accessed by the National Road 10 (N10) and the headquarters of Bacalhoa Vinhos is about 2 km away, on the N10.

See too


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