|A walk through this spacious leisure area, where the natural and historical heritages come together, can be an invigorating alternative to days spent in Viseu.
Here you will find swimming pools, a campsite, tennis courts and football grounds, a gym pavilion and a jogging circuit inside a green area enriched by many kinds of ancient trees, where the environment has been so carefully preserved that it was awarded the "Prémio Quercus 1993 - Iniciativa Autárquica" ("Quercus Prize 1993 - Local Authority initiative").
The history of this fine space dates from 1149 when the Bishop of Viseu, D. Odório, bought the Herdade de Fontelo (Fontelo Estate). In 1399 Bishop João Homem began the building of the palace, which was carried on by other prelates who succeedd him.
Fontelo achieved its greatest splendour in the 16th century on the initiative of Bishop D. Miguel da Silva, a powerful church dignitary who coveted the papal tiara, and a man of huge fortune and Renaissance taste, when it became one of the most exotic and opulent recreational estates in Portugal, much in fashion among the nobility and wealthy clergy in the 16th century.
In the same century, Bishop D. Gonçalo commissioned the chapel of S. Jerónimo (1563) and two porticos, dated 1565, in one of which D. Gonçalo's coat of arms can be seen.
Nowadays, although reduced in size and splendour from how it must have been at the time of D. Miguel da Silva, the Parque do Fontelo is no longer for the exclusive pleasure of an elite, but has become a wholesome area for leisure and sport, accessible to all those who wish to enjoy it.