THE QUINTA | Quinta do Convento da Franqueira
THE QUINTA

A great part of the estate is natural woodland, of pine, eucalyptus and cork oak, a delight to ramble through and enjoy the views to the north of the distant mountains of Gerés National Park and from the top of the Monte da Franqueira, westwards to the Atlantic.

The mature gardens are large and full of many unusual plants, with several sunny terraces perfect for enjoying a glass of chilled  Vinho Verde.

The spectacular swimming pool (open from 1 June to the end of September) is some 200 metres from the house, set in the orchard  and is fed by spring water gushing from a 300-metre gallery, which pierces the hillside.

The view from the pool terrace is especially idyllic in the early morning sun, and again, in the evening when the sun sets behind the great eucalyptus trees and the nightjars swoop down to drink.

The Convento’s church, Bom Jesus do Monte, is now rarely used but generally is open to the public at weekends. Guests can enjoy a privileged private view from the choir gallery, leading off the end of the first floor drawing room.


HISTORY
The Quinta do Convento da Franqueira was built in the 1560's using stones taken from the nearby ruined castle of Faria, stronghold in the 14th century of Nuno Gonçalves, a Portuguese hero. The Franciscan monks were drawn to the site by the ancient spring of the "Fonte da Vida" famous for its healing powers since 1493. The monks remained at Franqueira until the Abolition of the Monasteries in 1834 when the Convento and its lands were sold by the government, at auction, to a family from Porto.

In 1965 the Convento, in a very dilapidated state was bought by Brian Gallie, a retired Naval officer and his wife, and the daunting job of restoration began. The project is carried on today by his son Piers.

In 1988 after planting 6 hectares of vineyard and building a winery he and his wife, Kate created 4 guest rooms and welcome visitors from April till the end of October; their relaxed but solicitous hospitality ensures that guests feel thoroughly at home.