Quinta de Regaleira
August 18, 2007 9:05 PM   Subscribe

The Quinta de Regaleira, completed in 1910, was the dream palace of the Portuguese millionaire Antonio Agusto de Carvalho Monteiro who was a devotee of mysticism and lost arts. The enormous gardens include a Templar initiation well,underground labyrinths, hidden doorways, fantastic grottos, lookout towers, and of course the palace itself (hunting room, outside detail, gargoyles) More photos here and here.
posted by vacapinta (20 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Oh dear god that's beautiful.

How did he earn his money?
posted by empath at 9:24 PM on August 18, 2007

Clearly, this was back when a million went substantially further than it does today, judging by the McMansions that all the Dellionaires around these parts are building. Pretty amazing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:25 PM on August 18, 2007

I've visited this awesomely weird place, played a concert there, actually--it's wild. My students went nuts hiking through the caves and finding all sorts of hidden stuff, had a great afternoon.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:26 PM on August 18, 2007

This is a day trip from Lisbon if you're ever in that part of the world. My own small photoset is here (flickr self-link), including this old aquarium off one of the underground labyrinths, photos of which I didnt see anywhere else and which must have been fantastic.
posted by vacapinta at 9:34 PM on August 18, 2007

People these days just don't do cool stuff like this. I mean, look at Gates' place; I seriously doubt we'll be talking about it as a marvel in 50 years.
posted by maxwelton at 9:44 PM on August 18, 2007

Reminds me of Gormenghast. Spectacular.
posted by Ohdemah at 10:00 PM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

...but for real.
posted by Ohdemah at 10:03 PM on August 18, 2007

Awesome post!

I discovered there was no English Wikipedia article about Carvalho Monteiro, so I translated the Portuguese one:

António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro

There were some terms I wasn't sure about (I find non-Brazilian Portuguese tricky). And it doesn't read smoothly... and... and... oh hell, it's a Wiki and all that.

As for his fortune, which empath asked about, here's my translation of what the original has to say:

"He inherited a huge family fortune, which he enlarged in Brazil by selling coffee and precious stones, which soon made it possible for him to leave for Portugal. "
posted by snifty at 11:04 PM on August 18, 2007

Oh my God I soooooo want to go there now. Great post. Just great! So beautiful.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:09 PM on August 18, 2007

I remember getting lost in a magical, mysterious garden in Sintra and getting locked inside because it was getting late, thus having to climb over a wall to get out... this may have been the garden I remember.

There's a plaque somewhere in Sintra town marking a house that Hans Christian Andersen spent time in. I don't doubt it for a second -- the place is right out of a fairytale!
posted by mahamandarava at 1:02 AM on August 19, 2007

Most excellent post, vacapinta! Shall you add this to travelfilter?
posted by Lynsey at 1:20 AM on August 19, 2007

Heh, I loved Sintra. Mysterious gardens indeed.
posted by jouke at 5:34 AM on August 19, 2007

wow, thanks! this is really fantastic.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 5:39 AM on August 19, 2007

I would very much like to live there.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:41 AM on August 19, 2007

Was there last month. As beautiful as the buildings are, it's the surrounding garden that makes the place truly amazing. Portugal is crammed full of astonishing places like this, but Quinta de Regaleira and Sintra are at the top of the list.
posted by plenty at 8:39 AM on August 19, 2007

Oh, my. I actually made the Homer-salivating-over-a-donut noise when I followed your links.

It reminds me, in a much more minor way, of going to see Hearst Castle, and being overwhelmed by such casual beauty around every corner: the real gold leaf in the Roman pool, the ancient statuary dotting the grounds, how every floor and ceiling was worth studying even given the opulent art and furniture in each room. But ultimately, it was the front balcony view -- 360 degrees of sky and ocean and gardens below -- that broke me down. I couldn't imagine waking each morning and taking my coffee out there, or glancing out a window as I went about my daily life.

So for this place -- for which Hearst Castle might make a suitable garden shed -- I have no words, not even "want". Just inarticulate garbled noises for something I will probably never even see in person. Thanks for showing it to us, vacapinta.
posted by melissa may at 1:10 PM on August 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Was just there in June. Truly a beautiful, mystical, enchanting place.
posted by tallthinone at 1:28 PM on August 19, 2007

The gardens were one of the highlights of my time in Portugal. It was really quite beautiful. Could you imagine being a kid and having this to play in?
posted by captaincrouton at 3:17 PM on August 19, 2007

The map you get when you visit (via, with still more photos (in Portuguese)).

A lovely photo from the bottom of the well.
posted by snifty at 7:33 PM on August 19, 2007


This is the kind of opulence i really wish someone would bring back... every rich bastard is hoarding their money these days and not even trying to propagate any kind of eccentric taste.

It's a shame, really -- who else but a billionaire would let an architect just go nuts on a residential project?
posted by phylum sinter at 3:23 AM on August 20, 2007

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