It is not known when Amarante was founded. One story tells that a Roman centurion named Amarantus was responsible. What is certain is that in the 13th century, a monk already famed as a saint, St. Gonçalo, arrived here on returning from Jerusalem. He was to become the city’s patron saint and a great confessor to local unattached ladies.
Take a seat on a riverside terrace, shaded by the green of willows and alders and tuck into the famous and irresistible Amarante sweets, including the rich, eggy ‘papos de anjo’, ‘brisas do Tâmega’ or ‘bolinhos de S. Gonçalo’. Then look out over the highly photogenic granite bridge, a masterpiece of Baroque civil engineering. Mid-way circular balcony benches were provided to allow people to sit and contemplate the city and the river running beneath.
Take a seat and watch the gulls and canoes drift by. You’ll also notice the church and convent of St. Gonçalo, an imposing construction that demands your attention. Within it lies St. Gonçalo, the patron saint of weddings. His tomb, sculpted in limestone, is a masterpiece in miniature.
Also on the must-see list is the Museum of Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, a friend of the painter Modigliani and himself a pioneering genius of modern art.
And as for the surrounding natural environment, take to the hills for walking, golf, freshwater fishing or a visit to villages where the rural traditions still reign.