Wander and rest among history and heritage, in the middle of the Alentejo plain. Alvito deserves your visit.
Located in Baixo Alentejo, in the middle of the plain, the village of Alvito it is a place of peace of mind and tranquillity, among its small white houses with yellow or blue stripes.
Its settlement dates back to the beginning of the Portuguese monarchy, and its first floral was granted by King D. Dinis in 1327, and secured by D. Manuel in 1516. This small village was home to Portuguese barons, such as João Fernandes da Silveira .
Its calling card is the Castle of Alvito, whose construction began in 1494. Your visit is an authentic journey through time, with so many historic moments from the past that took place here.
It is a representation of the long Arab presence in the region, through its Mudejar architecture. But know what you shouldn’t miss in this piece of Alentejo.
Alvito: one of the Fresco Route paths
The Mother Church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção and the Hermitage of S. Sebastião are, like the castle, a bit of symbols of the Arab heritage that is felt in this Alentejo town.
However, there is so much more to see. If you head to Alvito, be sure to discover the Town Hall building, with its typical Alentejo clock tower, as well as the churches of Misericórdia and Senhora das Candeias, which houses the Museum of Sacred Art.
Once an important Alentejo town, with remarkable growth during the Modern Period, its development slowed down in the 60s of the 20th century.
Today, Alvito is a magnificent village on the plains of Baixo Alentejo, the proud owner of a rich heritage present in every corner.
The village develops from the castle of Alvito. Built at the end of the 15th century, it was erected by order of D. Diogo Lobo da Silveira, baron of Alvito, in the reign of D. João II.
It was built for housing, not for military purposes, and its architecture is a reflection of that. The towers are full of windows, as if it were a fortified house.
The building has maintained its good condition over the centuries, however the drawbridge that served as the main entrance has disappeared.
For several years, the castle was abandoned due to the liberal wars, until the intervention of the Fundação da Casa de Bragança, which turned it into a hotel. It is currently the much sought after, and praised, Pousada do Castelo de Alvito.
Built at the end of the 13th century, the Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Assunção underwent expansion works between 1480 and 1554, which gave it its current form.
The church brings together various styles, from Gothic to Baroque, including Manueline, Renaissance and Mannerism.
The interior body of the church is in the shape of a cross and has three naves with vaults with Gothic and Renaissance elements. Much of the interior is covered in tiles from the 17th century.
Hermitage of San Sebastian
The Hermitage of São Sebastião was built at the beginning of the 16th century and its architecture reflects a Gothic-Mudejar style. To protect the village, its construction was made at one end of the region.
The hermitage was closed to the public for several decades, however a local inhabitant was available to take care of its maintenance and today any visitor can enter and admire the medieval frescoes that it still preserves.
This Alvito monument is part of the Fresco Route, due to its beauty and heritage importance.
Created in 1998, the Fresco Route brings together 15 Alentejo municipalities: Alvito, Cuba, Vidigueira, Viana do Alentejo, Portel, Évora, Montemor-o-Novo, Borba, Vila Viçosa, Alandroal, Serpa, Moura, Castro Verde, Aljustrel and Beja .
This initiative proposes the discovery of the hidden treasure of the Alentejo, which is the fresco mural painting of churches, chapels and hermitages in the region.
The Fresco Route thus opens the doors to these monuments and their paintings with more than 500 years of existence.
This activity can last between 1 to 4 days and is intended for small and medium-sized groups. Participants can also venture into a Fresco Mural Painting Atelier, and have the opportunity to get to know these Alentejo villages better.
All Routes are accompanied by a Heritage Interpreter, graduated in History or Art History and specially trained in mural painting and Alentejo culture. If you prefer, you can also explore on your own.
On your next getaway, be sure to visit Alvito and these small towns that have so much to offer. Escape from the routine, and rest in the peace of Alentejo.