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FONDATION DE LA "CASA DE MATEUS"
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.