Exploring Sintra, Portugal's Three Most Enchanting Palaces with Estela Mendes

Exploring Sintra, Portugal's Three Most Enchanting Palaces with Estela Mendes


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The charming town of Sintra, Portugal is an easy day trip from Lisbon and is the perfect place to lounge between the mountains and the sea during the summer holidays. For its idyllic vistas and comfortable surroundings, the Portuguese royal family chose to establish their summer residences in town. During our conversation, we will explore Sintra National Palace, Peña Palace, and Quinta de Regaleria – which are in large part the defining landmarks of this UNESCO Cultural Landscape site.  

Our seminar will provide a narrative timeline of more than nine hundred years of Portuguese cultural heritage – through the lens of its three enchanted palaces. Beginning with Sintra National Palace, the oldest royal palace of Portugal. Its foundation dates back to the eighth century and is an exquisite example of the national style of architecture - Manuelino. Within the walls and courtyards of Sintra’s primary palace, so many key characters of this country’s history have made major power plays, which we will contextualize together.

Peña Palace is, perhaps, the most famous of all palaces of Sintra. Placed at the top of the mountain, its facade provides a textbook example of the Romantic Period’s architectural ideals. Quinta da Regaleira is the only palace of these three we’ll study that did not directly belong to the royal family. It was owned by millionaire António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro and represented the dreams of many bourgeois who fancied themselves amongst the ranks of Royals. Full of mystery and intriguing details to discover, we’ll discuss its many grottos, water features, courtyards, and cottages.

Led by local art historian, Estela Mendes, participants will emerge with a deeper understanding of the evolution of three of Portugal’s most enchanting palaces – from past to present. Designed to both inform future travels and inspire curiosity, participants will come away with a deeper understanding of these landmarks’ hidden historical context as well as the grand lifestyles they’ve preserved for posterity.

Estela Mendes is an art historian with a MA in Museum Studies. Her research background is in Costume Design. Born and raised in Lisbon, she has been teaching about the beauty of the world for the past 15 years. After working in national palaces in Portugal, Estela moved to London where she spent 5 years working at museums like Buckingham Palace, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery, where she has delivered gallery talks focusing on Fashion. In Portugal she created a company of Costume Hiring and Historical Re-enactments working with Museums, Opera Companies, Theatre, and Film.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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A
Ann (St Louis, US)
Exceptional Presentation

Her conversational style with really complicated history and design was very impressive. As a native of Sintra she had personal anecdotes to add. Her English is exceptional. One of the best Conversations offered.

L
Larry Levine (Boardman, US)
Wonderful program about a wonderful place!

Estela Mendes presented a wonderful program, articulate, enthusiastic and chock full of information. The varied illustrations of architecture, interiors and grounds were excellent and brought the 3 sites to life. Everything was well set in the context of Portuguese history. I only wish that a couple more minutes could have been devoted to the town of Sintra itself, with interesting public art, unique bakeries, etc, especially during the hours when Sintra is not crowded with day visitors.

J
JEANNE MEDEIROS (Sharon, US)
Fascinating and informative

Fabulous! I have been to Sintra twice and I learned so much. Estela did a wonderful job synthesizing material about history, architecture, mythology and a number of other subjects. She was so engaging and informative, Muita obrigada, Estela!

s
sherry grant (Los Angeles, US)

Guest did not leave comment

A
Anonymous (Porto Alegre, BR)

Guest did not leave comment

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
100%
(5)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
Ann (St Louis, US)
Exceptional Presentation

Her conversational style with really complicated history and design was very impressive. As a native of Sintra she had personal anecdotes to add. Her English is exceptional. One of the best Conversations offered.

L
Larry Levine (Boardman, US)
Wonderful program about a wonderful place!

Estela Mendes presented a wonderful program, articulate, enthusiastic and chock full of information. The varied illustrations of architecture, interiors and grounds were excellent and brought the 3 sites to life. Everything was well set in the context of Portuguese history. I only wish that a couple more minutes could have been devoted to the town of Sintra itself, with interesting public art, unique bakeries, etc, especially during the hours when Sintra is not crowded with day visitors.

J
JEANNE MEDEIROS (Sharon, US)
Fascinating and informative

Fabulous! I have been to Sintra twice and I learned so much. Estela did a wonderful job synthesizing material about history, architecture, mythology and a number of other subjects. She was so engaging and informative, Muita obrigada, Estela!

s
sherry grant (Los Angeles, US)

Guest did not leave comment

A
Anonymous (Porto Alegre, BR)

Guest did not leave comment