Casa das Fidalgas
Casa das Fidalgas is now the Hotel Valverde Santar
On a horizon of rugged valleys, between the Estrela and Caramulo mountains, where the Mondego and Dão rivers meander, Casa das Fidalgas is a charming aristocratic manor house from the 17th century. Surrounded by vegetable gardens and orchards, rows of carved boxwood, punctuated by yews, lagerstroemia and camellias, a verdant, undulating carpet of vines, broken up by aisles of aromatic shrubs, native plants and orange trees from Mexico. The garden develops in tiers and is partially covered by a pergola of rose bushes, a peaceful and fragrant stop next to two small water tanks. At the top, in the wooden belvedere, there is also shelter, rest and contemplation, and views of this bucolic scenery, the town and, to the south, the immense Beira plain.
The house was originally built by Domingos de Sampaio do Amaral on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter D. Joana de Sampaio to João de Almeida Castelo Branco, who held the chief captaincy of the municipality of Senhorim and established the morgado de Santar. It's called Casa das Fidalgas because three unmarried sisters lived there, known as the "fidalgas de Santar" (noblewomen of Santar), shrouded in mystery, not least because history tells little about women, and eternalized in the fountain in one of the gardens of the house of the Counts of Santar. Leaving no descendants, the house was passed on to a cousin who, in turn, passed it on to the family of Pedro Brum da Silveira Pinto. A staunch monarchist with no children of his own, he gave this seven-hectare property to the Portuguese Royal House in 1975, and it was here that D. Miguel de Bragança, Duke of Viseu, lived for more than 40 years, until he gave it to the Santar Vila Jardim project, which would later house our hotel.
The Casa das Fidalgas has an area of almost 4,000 square meters and underwent successive renovations in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially in the mid-1900s, which brought down the medieval tower and gave it the appearance of a manor house that combines baroque and neoclassical architecture.
The hotel was decorated by José Pedro Vieira and Diogo Rosa Lã da Bastir, who restored the building and transformed it into an enlarged house with an intimate atmosphere. After four years of extensive restoration work, this manor house, which is said to have been built from a medieval watchtower, has been transformed into a magnificent five-star hotel: the Valverde Santar Hotel & Spa.