Redondo village saw its foundation, according to what people say, linked to the legendary title “Penedo Redondo” (“Round Rock”), which existed on the original medieval wall. Yes, Redondo, Portugal. Have you heard of it?
So, Redondo is Alentejo, it is a village of humble, friendly people. Redondo is tradition and hospitality. White small villages with houses of a cheerful colour skirting. Like so many other in the region. Redondo is also home of old dolmens, endless fields covered with a blanket of wild flowers and typical Alentejo cork tree forests.
Here, in the Summer, the quiet streets get filled of life and this life gets filled with colour and excitement. Here, wise hands give form to clay and culture is served at the table. Where honey, sausages and Alentejo wines produced in the municipality marvel those who sit down and forget about their daily routines.
Visit Redondo – village and municipality highlights
Redondo is known for its wines of indisputable quality, resulting from the best wine grape varieties of the region and very appreciated by visitors. To go with the wine, a fine meal representative of the amazing mediterranean Alentejo cuisine. But that’s not all. The meal is served in earthenware, made in this village where potters are just as important as wine production.
However, the village is not just pottery, wines and food. It is also history and people. These people make the history of the municipality, with the well-known Alentejo furniture, with the cork worked tirelessly and, of course, the paper flowers which decorate the streets on the hot nights of the region. All these are valuable representations of the Alentejo handicrafts.
The immense Alentejo plains and the beauty of the proudly rising Serra D’Ossa (sierra) surround Redondo municipality. Its landscape reveals us the distinctive cork tree forests and the vast vineyards. Both welcome tourists with arms wide open, offering them everything necessary to make them feel at home.
Serra d’Ossa became known throughout history as Monte-de-Vénus and Hossenos or Hossios Sierra. This last name appeared around the years of 40 to 45 A.D., when the first Christians arrived in the region.
Redondo – the history of the village
The administrative formation of the village of Redondo came with the Portuguese King Afonso III, who granted its charter in 1250. However, it was King Dinis the one who ordered the fortification and granted a new charter, in 1318. Being a Crown asset, it was donated by King Manuel, in 1500, to a captain and hero of Arzila called Lord Vasco Coutinho. This was the 1st Count of Redondo and also the 1st Count of Borba.
In the beginning of the 15th century, not many people lived in Redondo. Because of that, in 1418, King João I decreed that every person who travelled from Evora to Vila Viçosa and Alandroal would have to go through the village. He forbid the use of all other road alternatives. Today, Redondo is a crossing point and an almost mandatory stop for visitors wishing to appreciate its historical, cultural and architectural heritage.
Around 1463, the village of Redondo effectively started to expand. Since the area near the castle was complete with houses and people, it was decided that the outskirts would also be inhabited. People who lived inside Redondo Castle and the ones on the outside would then have equal privileges and freedoms.
The expansion of the village continued through the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, there was a clear decrease in the village growth. All because of the agitated political scenario lived in Portugal. In spite of this situation, in around 1830, a theatre was built in Largo da Câmara (City Hall square). This shows that Redondo was already an active village, interested in the cultural aspects.
A new period of growth took place in late 19th century. By then, there was a large boost to the development of vineyard plantation, followed during the first decades of the 20th century. The fertile granite and schist soils have always allowed the production of fine quality wine. This is one of the best assets of the region. In fact, that is why the proper authorities considered it Denominação de Origem Controlada (D.O.C.), the system of protected designation of origin for wines, cheeses, butters and other agricultural products from Portugal.
Visit Redondo – explore this authentic land
Nowadays, you can see the Cerca Militar (Military Wall) in Redondo, classified as a National Monument in Portugal. You can also visit the following churches: Matriz (16th/17th century), Misericórdia (Manueline style), Calvário (17th century) or Nossa Senhora da Saúde (17th century). Go see the Pelourinho too.
Equally interesting and well worth a bit of your time are the Redondo Castle, Miradouro do Cume da Serra D’Ossa (viewpoint), Museu Regional do Vinho de Redondo (Redondo Regional Wine Museum), Museu do Barro (Clay Museum). During the Summer, don’t miss the famous Ruas Floridas (Flowered Streets). People maintain this 19th century tradition alive decorating the village streets with thousands of flowers made of coloured paper.
Redondo outskirts – Megalithic monuments
Once you know the heart of Redondo, you can visit what is around it… Which is a lot. The vast Megalithic legacy is extremely interesting and you can’t miss it. Take the time to walk through the fields and see Anta do Colmeeiro (dolmen), one of the best preserved; Anta da Herdade da Candeeira; Anta da Venda do Duque; and Anta da Vidigueira. Some of these routes are available by prior appointment with Redondo City Hall. All these monuments are proof of earlier human presence in the region.
Redondo outskirts – Convento de São Paulo (Saint Paul Convent)
Further away from Redondo, we find Convento de São Paulo, also known as Convento de São Paulo da Serra de Ossa or Convento da Serra D’Ossa. Do visit it! It is a conventual building built in 1182 by the monks of the Order of São Paulo Eremita. You will spot it between the village of Redondo and the city of Estremoz. Half way down a hill in Serra D’Ossa, right on the heart of Alentejo. In this hidden place, the hermits found the ideal place to pray, away from society.
Some royal visitors came to the convent like King Sebastião, King João IV or Queen Catarina de Bragança. This is where you can see the largest tile collection in Portugal: around 54,000, not counting the different panels found scattered across the convent estate.
Today, you can sleep in São Paulo Convent, since it is now a luxury hotel museum. A charming place of elegant rooms which have terraces with a magnificent view over the Alentejo landscape. Imperative!
Guests and visitors can visit a few exhibitions throughout the year. Apart from these, you can appreciate the wonderful florentine fountains spread in the Convent, indoors and outdoors. But… the convent has a lot more to offer: a visit to the chapel, cloister, gardens. And don’t forget the restaurant where you can taste the best Alentejo cuisine. You can choose delicacies like “Sopa de Cação”, “Poejada de Bacalhau”, “Borreguinhos em Azeite”, “Migas de Espargos”, among others as tempting. To complete the meal, have a good Alentejo wine and some convent and regional sweets.
Redondo outskirts – nature and archeological heritage
For those who think tourism is all about enjoying what nature and pure air has to offer, there are other choices. For starters, you can venture out in the cork oak forest or get to know the vineyards. Then, you can also choose a route that takes you to Serra D’Ossa. You can try different routes: Antas (Dolmens), Freixo (Ash Tree), Montado-Freixo (Cork Tree Forest-Ash Tree) or Eremitas da Serra D’Ossa (Serra D’Ossa Hermits).
After everything you read about Redondo, if you are coming from the city, big or small, it won’t be hard to forget about the turmoil of everyday life. At the end of the day, sit down contemplating the sunset, drinking a glass of wine and experiencing Redondo. Breathe in and take in Alentejo peace and quiet.