The ruins of São Cucufate bear witness to the sumptuousness of a Roman villa (or farmhouse). There are the remains of a tank that was once a swimming pool, baths that still preserve the distinction between different hot-water areas, cold and tepid, and parts that used to be leafy gardens.
The main building, flanked by two turrets, is a fine example of conservation, which may be explained by the fact that the site was occupied throughout the centuries, even after the end of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. Indeed, the name comes from the High Middle Ages, when a monastery dedicated to St.
Cucufate was founded here. Although the earliest buildings date back to the first century, these ruins belong to the fourth century, and follow a rather unusual two-storey architectural model, adding to the villa's splendour.
Walk through the vaulted rooms on the ground floor, once stacked with agricultural produce, and imagine the noble residence on the floor above. Climb a modern staircase, replacing of the old steps, and look at the view that the Romans had from their terrace, proud of their huge estate in the Alentejo countryside.