This once upon a time small village to the north-west of Lisbon has become a tourist attraction because of its charming Royal Palace. In 1747, the architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira was commissioned by the royal Prince Dom Pedro to transform his occasional hunting lodge into a special summer palace.
Firstly, the main quarters were built along with the Music Room and the Chapel. After the marriage in 1760 of Dom Pedroto his wife later to be Queen Maria I, the French architect Jean-Baptiste Robillion was commissioned to create the Throne Room, redesign the Music Room, and implant a sumptuous garden in the grounds.
In this impressive romantic creation the Royal Family held court. According to the words of a passing visitor, Lord William Beckford, operas, concerts and balls were performed with Maria’s I personal orchestra then rated as "the best in Europe”.
Unfortunately for the Royal Family, the Queen became mentally unstable in 1788 due to her son Dom José having died of smallpox. Upon the invasion of the French in 1807 her other son João VI, and as acting Regent decided to flee with the Queen Maria to Brazil.
One of the attractions of this palace is its beautiful decorated gardens. The layout was designed by Jean Baptiste Robillion who chose a semi-formal Italian style, and decorated with a boating canal, numerous fountains, and period reproduction sculptures from John Cheere.
The Royal Kitchens have been converted into a fine quality restaurant where a visitor may sample throughout the year special prepared traditional Portuguese food and an impressive selection of different Portuguese wines.
The Palace is open to visitors except when being used for an official State function.
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