The carpets of Portalegre are unique works capable of rendering the subtle tones of any painting or design. And that design might be from a Portuguese painter, Le Corbusier or Jean Lurçat, all of who have sought to see their art re-represented in this form. In a former noble’s residence, the Museum of Weaving is an essential stop on any visit to this city. Indeed, it is down to the prosperity generated by the textile industry of the 17th and 18th century that there are so many Baroque palaces endowing the streets of the old city with a sober elegance.
The Catholic Church was also behind many of the finest monuments of Portalegre, such as the Convent of S. Bernardo. On visiting the tomb the convent’s founder, bishop Jorge de Melo, ordered carved for himself, and it proved to be one of the most beautiful and grandiose in all Portugal, king Filipe II exclaimed "what a great cage for such a small bird".
Whether or not you agree with the king’s opinion, it is a truly impressive sight and there is still much more to visit in Portalegre. For example, the great Se that contains a unique collection of 16th and 17th Portuguese painting and tile panels depicting biblical scenes. Drop in on the house where José Régio, the teacher and 20th century literature great, lived. While now a museum, the poet wished for the interior to be maintained in perpetuity. Let the ambience take you and discover one of the most unusual collections of religious and popular artistic forms that was one of the defining passions of Régio’s life.