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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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

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 many 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 8 reviews
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(8)
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E
E.C. (Charlottesville, US)
Outstanding presentation about Sintra

Estela is a great presenter and this required a great deal of context from Portuguese history of the 14th-20th centuries. She gave just the right amount of detail to make the three sites come alive and to make you eager to visit them. I’m going to Portugal in October and can’t wait!

S
S.H. (Bethesda, US)
Wonderful presentation

Estela gave a great presentation on Sintra - made me want to hop on an airplane to Portugal. Estela is very knowledgeable, was very clear in her presentation. Loved all the history that was the framework for her architectural tour.

C
C. (Calgary, CA)

Estela provided a very thorough review of the 3 magnificent palaces in Sintra. I can’t wait to visit and see them in person. With any luck we will tour with Estela!

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.

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
100%
(8)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
E
E.C. (Charlottesville, US)
Outstanding presentation about Sintra

Estela is a great presenter and this required a great deal of context from Portuguese history of the 14th-20th centuries. She gave just the right amount of detail to make the three sites come alive and to make you eager to visit them. I’m going to Portugal in October and can’t wait!

S
S.H. (Bethesda, US)
Wonderful presentation

Estela gave a great presentation on Sintra - made me want to hop on an airplane to Portugal. Estela is very knowledgeable, was very clear in her presentation. Loved all the history that was the framework for her architectural tour.

C
C. (Calgary, CA)

Estela provided a very thorough review of the 3 magnificent palaces in Sintra. I can’t wait to visit and see them in person. With any luck we will tour with Estela!

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.