The oldest national palace in Portugal
Palace of Pena
Palácio da PenaElyn Aviva
Buried beneath the romantic exotica of Pena Palace lies a very different story-
“The ‘jewel in the crown of Dom Fernando II, the Artist King’ is an over-the-top confection perched on top of the second-highest spot on the Monte da Lua. The palace’s excesses are the expression of an exuberantly romantic imagination. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just depends on your taste. The extensive park is an alluring mixture of nature and artifice, of natural and artificial. Strolling through the carefully constructed landscape offers the opportunity to step into a fairytale.” —Elyn
Buried beneath the romantic exotica of Pena Palace lies a very different story, a story that is less fairytale and more religious. Sometime before the 12th century, an apparition of the Virgin Mary was reported on this rocky crag (penha) on the Monte da Lua by a shepherdess. In 1372, a chapel was built there by Henrique Manuel de Vilhena, Count of Seia e Sintra, uncle of Dom Fernando I, because of the local discovery of a miraculous image related to the 12th-century apparition. In 1493, Dom João II and his wife Dona Leanor made a pilgrimage to the chapel to fulfill a vow and in mourning for the death of their son, Prince Afonso.