Gaspar Gonçalves was awarded the estate by King Dom Manuel I and was referred to as the Herdade das Laranjeiras (Orange Tree Estate), and many orange trees can still be found growing on the grounds. Following the construction of the manorhouse, Gonçalves was appointed Lord of Ribafria by Dom João III. A thirty metre-tall 17rh century tower sits alongside the main building and is adorned with cornicing and topped with merlon battlements. The coat of arms of Gaspar Gonçalves is carved within its stonework. The façade of the main building contains Mudéjar-styled battlements inspired by Moorish architecture found at Cordoba in Spain. The building sustained some damage during the 1755 earthquake. The estate was sold to the Cartaxo family who undertook restoration work in the 1960s.
Inside you can find beautiful painted wooden coffered ceilings displaying hunting scenes along with floral and nautical motifs. The house contains two chapels and one located within the forested gardens. The garden chapel contains a fine example of azulejo tiles lining the inner walls. From 1987 to 2002 Quinta da Ribafria housed the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. During this time improvements were made to the gardens supervised by two well-known Portuguese architects, Francisco Caldeira Cabral and Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles.
The Council of Sintra took control of the estate in 2003 and use the grounds to host cultural events and display urban art. The gardens are free to visit but the house is closed to the public due to its poor state of preservation.
A short walk out of Sintra old town along the Rua Consiglieri Pedroso road (N375), turn left at the junction just past the Lawrences hotel. The main entrance is 300 metres on the right past the Fonte dos Pisões fountain on the left hand side.
The Scotturb buses 439, 440, 442 leaves from Sintra Train station.
Quinta da Ribafria Gardens, Estrada da Várzea, Sintra, 2710-403 Sintra, Portugal.
08° 48' 55.9" N | 09° 22' 40.9" W