Sintra – Palacio da Pena

The fantastic Palacio da Pena is one of the greatest examples of the romantic revival of the 20th century.  Situated in Monte da Pena, the Palacio was built on the site of a former convent of friars of the Order of St. Jerome. It was the fruit of the imagination of D. Fernando de Saxe Coburgo-Gotha, who married Queen D. Maria II in 1836. In love with Sintra, he decided to acquire the convent and surrounding lands to build the summer palace of the royal family.

The king consort adopted the Portuguese architectural and decorative forms, to the revivalist taste (neo-gothic, neo-Manueline, neo-islamic, neo-renaissance) and in the surroundings decided to make a magnificent park in English style, with the most varied exotic tree species.

In the interior, still decorated to the taste of the kings who lived there, stands the chapel, where you can see a magnificent altarpiece in marble attributed to Nicolau Chanterenne (one of the architects of the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon). Also worth mentioning are the mural paintings in trompe l’oeil and the tile coverings.

I was there on a bright and sunny day, but all the way up on the mountain, it was cold and foggy and it even rained a little bit. So beware that the temperature down in the city can be totally different from the weather up there and it might be best to dress in layers. The fogginess did give the castle an eerie veil, that actually looked amazing.

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