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The Casa de Mateus Foundation is on of the most active cultural organisations in the country, acting on a regional, national and international level.


Amongst other regular activities, the Foundation promotes and hosts concerts, seminars, training courses – mainly in the fields of music – exhibitions and similar events.


In 1980 the “D. Dinis” literature award was created and is bestowed annually to Portuguese writers.



Together with the Council of rectors of public universities, the Foundation presides, since 1986, to the International Institute Casa de Mateus, whose members and co-founders are all the Portuguese public universities and scientific academies. The Foundation is a founding member of two international networks: the network for the collective translation of live poetry (1991) and the network of cultural centers installed in historical sites (1992). It is also part, since 1995, of the “Hague Club” which gathers European foundations and, since 1996, of the world network of Artists Residence, Resartis.


The Foundation of the Casa de Mateus was created in 1970 by D. Francisco de Sousa Botelho Albuquerque, Count of Mangualde, Vila Real and Melo, and its statutory aim is the preservation of the house, the study of its archive and the promotion of cultural, scientific and educational activities.



An important effort was made towards the restoration of the house, so as adapt it to the functions it now serves.

There are today important infra-structures which are modern and geared towards the activities the Foundation promotes. An old barn was transformed into a concert hall, and dressing rooms were built as annexes. In the old “wood house”, the “old kitchen” and, in the upper floor of the cellars, where wine is still produced today, were installed rooms and work facilities for guest personalities. The old olive presses and distillery, about 300 meters from the house, were restored and transformed into the first artists residence of the Iberian Peninsula.



The Casa de Mateus was built in the first half of the 18th Century by António José Botelho Mourão (1688-1746), 3rd Morgado of Mateus. The chapel was finished by his son, D. Luís António de Sousa Botelho Mourão (1722-1798).

The architectural design of the house, ex-libris of the Portuguese baroque, is attributed to the great Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni and manages to harmonize the traditionally comfortable dimensions of the Portuguese noble house to the baroque exhuberance displayed in the main façade, the decorative motifs of the roofs and in the chapel designed by Master José Álvares do Rego.




Very well preserved and improved in the course of generations, the gardens are amongst the most beautiful of the country. The granite water mirror in front of the house , the tree tiered pools fed by spring water , the tunnel of cedars and the gardens designed in topiaries of different sizes were added, in the middle of the 20th Century to the secular camellia gardens, the monumental cedars and the magnificent threshing floor with a view to the Serra do Marão. In the house, the entrance hall and six rooms of the south wing, the library and four rooms of the North wing are open to the public. Two of the South wing rooms were turned into a museum.



In the first are gathered nearly 2000 parchments and Royal Charters, the oldest dating from the 15th Century, the unique two-volume parchenent copy of the 1817’s Morgado de Mateus edition of the “Lusíadas”, as well as several objects related to the memory of the House and the family.

In the second room are the liturgical vestments with which the chapel was opened in 1759, a collection of silver reliquaries from the 18th Century, a 17th Century woodcraft altar, ivory images of Our Lady of Conception (17th Century) and of the Christ (16th Century), a “Descent from the Cross” by the School of Machado de Castro (18th Century), amongst several other images and curiosities of religious nature.




The contents of other rooms include Portuguese, French and English furniture, mainly from the 17th and 18th Centuries, as well as paintings from the same period. Also on exhibition are several family portraits, silver rand chinaware of the Companhia das Índias, Chinese and European from the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. Also remarkable is the chestnut woodcraft of all the ceilings and valances.

In the chapel you can admire sculptures in wood and stone from the 16th to 18th Centuries. The ceiling of the sacristy is covered with 17th Century paintings representing religious figures.








Mateus is situated 2 km from Vila Real, 90 km from Porto and 410 km from Lisboa.

By car, you can take the IP4 (exit to Vila Real Norte/ Chaves), taking the Vila Real route heading towards East and exiting on the road that leads to Sabrosa.

The train from Porto stops in Régua (28 km from Vila Real) where you can take the bus to Vila Real.

Vila Real is also served by an airfield with flights from Lisboa and Bragança.


There are two choices for visitors: a visit to the gardens and the general visit which includes the interior of the house and the chapel.


The Casa de Mateus is closed to the public on December 25th.

From June to October: from 9 am to 7.30 pm.

From November to April from 9 am to 6 pm.


The Sales venues of the Foundation are opened at those same hours.

Groups visits are subject to previous reservations.

Visit to the interior of the house are guided and in groups no bigger than 10 visitors.

Only up to 3 groups are allowed to remain inside the house simultaneously.


In exceptional situations the Foundation may have to close the House to the public.

© 2005 Fundação da Casa de Mateus
Todos os direitos reservados
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