About Pousada Convento Vila Vicosa
The Pousada Convento Vila Viçosa was a 16th century convent occupied by the Order of Santa Clara. Located in the beautiful Alentejo province of Portugal, the Pousada is today incarnated as a hotel.
Pousada Convento Vila Vicosa history
The Convento do Chagas de Cristo was founded in 1514 by Jaime the 4th Duke of Bragança. The Duke built and resided in the adjacent Paço Ducal de Vila Viçosa after his ducal title and property was restored by King Manuel I, forgiving the treason of his father the former duke.
The convent’s purpose was welcoming unmarried daughters, with a Church where the wives of the Dukes of Braganza could be buried. The nobility donated large sums and lifetime pensions to the Convent, allowing the nuns to have their own rooms and servants.
A small side Chapel in the Cloister was decorated with frescoes by Cecilia of the Holy Spirit, a poet and painter who worked at the Convent until her death in 1723. Cecilia was professed in the Convent, recorded there in 1652. It was not unusual for professed nuns to be trained painters producing work for their own convents or other religious houses.
At the time of King João V, a period of prosperity in monarchical Portugal, about 80 nuns inhabited the convent. However, with the extinction of the religious orders, which occurred by decree in 1834, the building came to be held by the royal Casa de Bragança until the 1910 Revolution deposed the monarchy.
Pousada Convento Vila Vicosa today
The nuns long moved out, today Pousada Convento Vila Viçosa is a luxurious and peaceful hotel celebrating the site’s rich history. Visit the Church portico, one of Portugal’s most exquisite Renaissance works and the roof of the single nave is late Gothic. The chapel high altar is of 18th century gilt carving and depicts in a painting the doubt of St. Thomas, while the tower is home to three original 16th century bells.
Take your taste buds back in time with you too, as the 16th century nuns have inspired the restaurant located in the former refectory, with a special ‘secret’ recipe called ‘Manjar das Chagas’ available. Or you can wander through the cloisters with the scent of orange blossoms in bloom.
Getting to Pousada Convento Vila Vicosa
Pousada Convento Vila Viçosa is located 150 km east of Lisbon via the A2 and A6. There is ample parking at the hotel and nearby area.