As we see the palace and incredible (hillside) grounds today at Quinta da Regaleira, we are visiting the splendor of Sintra, Portugal, from the 1890s through the early part of the 20th century. The palace was the summer residence of the Carvalho Monteiro family. Built in the Neo-Manueline style, the exuberant decorative scheme involved some of Portugal’s best artists: Antonio Goncalves, Joao Machado, Jose de Fonseca, Costa Motta and Rodrigo de Castro, as sculptors in stone and Julio de Fonseca, in wood. [Neo-Manueline was a revival architecture and decorative arts style developed in Portugal between the middle of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The style adopted the characteristics of the Manueline (or Portuguese Final Gothic) of the 16th century.]
The palace was sold at public auction in 1893 to Antonio Augusto de Carvalho Monteiro who added other parcels of land, creating the hillside pentagonal outline of the property boundaries, which exist today. From 1898 through 1900 the construction focused on the gardens. Beginning in 1904 the building work concentrated on the main house (the “palace”) and the chapel, both with exuberant decoration.
The estate was sold several times after World War II, including ownership by a Japanese corporation in 1987. However, the estate was acquired by the Municipality of Sintra in 1997 and now remains open to the public (admission is charged).
Set amidst the pine covered hills of the Serra de Sintra mountains, just to the west of Lisbon and close to the Atlantic Ocean, the picturesque town of Sintra is home to several fascinating monuments and historic buildings. The location’s slightly cooler climate attracted the nobilitty and elite of Portugal, who constructed exquisite palaces.
Quinta da Regaleira (The Regaleria Palace) is one of the highlights of the Sintra, Portugal, UNESCO World Heritage Site.