Florbela d’Alma da Conceição Espanca wrote: “to be a poet is to be taller, to be greater than men”. She became much greater than men, she was a poetess from the heights, who imprinted words – of love, suffering and longing – on the chest of those who read them.
Born on December 8, 1894, in Vila Viçosa, she picked up a pen to write her first poem at just eight years old and saw her first book published – “Livro das Mágoas” – at the age of 25.
We invite you to get lost in the streets of the memory of Florbela Espanca in Vila Viçosa“Princess of Alentejo“, perched at the foot of the Serra de Borba.
Vila Viçosa: lost by Florbela Espanca
Vila Viçosa is a fantastic Alentejo village, with a vast history and an impressive heritage. It was there that, in 1894, Flor Bela Lobo was born, a Portuguese poet who in 36 years of tumultuous life marked by restlessness, created a work that over time would intrigue many people and fall in love with many others.
Currently, there is a street in the village named Florbela beatswhere is the house where you lived and which is now a museum center. Walk along the sidewalk to number 59, with its white and yellow walls where one of the most famous verses of the poetess is written, made famous in music by Trovante: “And it is to love you, like this, hopelessly”.
In turn, along with Cine Theater also bearing her name, there is a monument to Florbela Espanca, a bust with the signature of the architect Raul David, which marks the troubled life of one of the most remarkable daughters of the land.
castles and manors
There are, however, more points in this “Vale Viçoso” that would have been part of Florbela Espanca’s routine and that today deserve your visit.
Embedded in the traditional Alentejo landscape, with characteristic colors and textures, Vila Viçosa is synonymous with tranquility and friendliness.
peek at central plazawhere orange trees release an unmistakable aroma, and let yourself be involved in conversations with the people who inhabit the village and personify the word hospitality.
In the center, visit the medieval castleordered to be built by D. Dinis in the last decade of the 13th century and where, inside, you will find the Solar da Padroeira de Portugalobligatory stopping point.
It is precisely in the cemetery next to the fortress that the body of Florbela Espanca lies.
Paço Ducal: testimony of history
Obviously, a visit to the fabulous Paço Ducal, one of the most emblematic monuments from Vila Vicosa. Its construction began in 1501 by order of D. Jaime, fourth Duke of Bragança, but the works that gave it the grandeur and characteristics that we know today lasted through the 16th and 17th centuries.
You 110 meters long facade Mannerist style, completely covered in marble from the region, make this magnificent royal palace a unique example of Portuguese civil architecture, where personalities of great national and international projection have stayed.
From the permanent residence of the first family of the national nobility, the Paço Ducal became, with the rise in 1640 of the House of Bragança to the throne of Portugal, to be just one of the houses scattered throughout the kingdom.
During the reigns of D. Luís and D. Carlos, frequent visits to the Ducal Palace resumed, and throughout the 19th century, requalification works were carried out aimed at offering greater comfort to the royal family during the annual hunting excursions.
The establishment of the Republic in 1910 led to the closure of the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa which, by will expressed in the will of King Manuel II, reopened its doors in the 40s of the 20th century, after the creation of the Foundation of the House of Bragança.
Throughout the entire visit to the Palace, frescoes and 17th-century tiles predominate, coffered and painted ceilings and marble fireplaces that distinguish the different rooms that house important collections of painting, sculpture, furniture, tapestries, ceramics and jewellery.
What to eat
Alentejo gastronomy is almost untranslatable in words. It appears before us full of flavors that send us to the long plains that parade in front of our eyes.
Anywhere in the Alentejo, it is possible to go into a random tavern and eat in an unforgettable way. Vila Viçosa is no exception to the rule.
Secret succulent black pork soups, gazpacho, river fish, lamb stew, partridges, cacholeiras, ham, sarapatéis or, of course, the delicious migas, are dishes that you won’t have much trouble finding.
Here are some spaces where you can feast on the best that Alentejo has to offer.
Where to stay
Accommodation will also not be a problem for a journey well spent in Alentejo lands. The proposals are aimed at all purses and tastes. The list is vast, so here we leave you with just a few suggestions where to stay.
Florbela Espanca: a life of nonconformity
An illegitimate daughter, recognized by her father only after his death, Florbela Espanca lived from a very early age in defiance of the conventions of the time.
He wore trousers, an exclusive piece of men’s wardrobe, spoke of sensuality when it was taboo, studied law at the Faculty of Lisbon and was married three times, divorced twice.
She was a woman who turned the emotions that filled her into words and those words into fantastic works. In 36 years, there were more than 200 sonnets that she wrote and many heartbreaks that devastated her, from failed loves, to the violent death of her brother Apeles.
On December 8, 1930, his birthday, he put down his pen for good. She lived in Matosinhos, with her third husband. She committed suicide, causing “Death, the Enlightened One, to enter” and leaving a legacy of immense value for all those who seek in poetry a genuine reflection of the human soul.
A poem by Florbela to close🇧🇷
I am the one that in the world is lost,
I am the one who has no north in life,
I am Dream’s sister, and this luck
I am the crucified one… the aching one…
Shade of faint and fading mist,
And that bitter fate, sad and strong,
Brutally thrust to death!
Soul always misunderstood grief! 🇧🇷
I am the one who passes by and no one sees…
I am what they call sad without being…
I am the one who cries without knowing why…
I am perhaps the vision that Someone dreamed of,
Someone who came into the world to see me
And that he never found me in his life!