The village of Castelo Novo takes its name from its 12th century castle, which was severely damaged by the earthquake of 1755. It was called ‘new’ due to the existence of another abandoned fort nearby, a structure not deemed adequate for military defence.
The medieval town hall in the Largo da Bica has various curious features, in particular a fine 18th century baroque fountain, topped with king D. João V’s coat of arms. The simple medieval structure itself has a formal façade of granite.
Behind the town hall - like a protective, watchful sentry - is the old castle donjon. Deprived of its military functions, it now acts as a giant sun dial, indicating the time to the population of the village.
Another intriguing feature of ancient village life is is the Lagariça, an enormous tank cut into the rock, where for centuries grapes were trodden to make wine for the villagers.