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Marquês da Fronteira Palace

Marquês da Fronteira Palace (47)

If you want to see one of the most spectacular ceramic collections of the 17th century, make sure you come to this palace. In the outhouses of this former hunting pavilion, luxury and brilliance are displayed in impressive tile panels. Also found is the provocative image of two sacred icons together, angels and demons. What’s more, you can observe mythological scenes and satire in the images of cats and monkeys imitating human behaviour. There are also exotic decorative motifs from India. All in all an interesting mix.

The construction of this palace was ordered by Dom Joao de Mascarenhas, the first marquis of Fronteira, in 1640. However, the building’s oldest section comes from the 16th century, while there are others from the 18th. Therefore, three centuries of architecture are represented in one place. 

The real treats in any visit to this palace are the splendid and very well looked-after Italian gardens, the old chapel and the battle room, which is impressively decorated with 17th century tile murals. 

You should pay particular attention to the artistic quality of the scenes depicting the ´Restoration War`, which took place between 1640 and 1668 and was fought against the Spanish. It also featured the heroic participation of the Marquis of Fronteira. In the palace’s grand dining room there are also beautiful Delft ceramic panels depicting natural images. 

You are sure to appreciate the chapel’s 16th century facade which is literally splashed with pieces of glass, rock, shell and porcelain encrusted beautifully into the walls. History states that during the palace’s inauguration celebrations, the crockery was all destroyed so that it could never be used again, thus keeping the exclusivity of its use for that one occasion. With the tiny pieces of bowls, glasses and plates, this original decoration was created.  

Outside, the terrace contains corners with marble sculptures of mythical characters, and again, tile paving that includes references to the senses, arts and science.

References and symbols are also present in the garden, specifically in the pruned box plants which are carefully cultivated to represent the four seasons. And below the small pond located here, guess what you can find? Exactly, a lovely background of tiles, this time representing familiar scenes of the “Casa de Fronteira”.

Found close to the “Florestal de Monsanto” Park, this palace is well worth a visit, especially if you are a fan of tiles. 

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