History

The Origins of S. Gregório

The earliest written records of the ancient village of S. Gregório date back to 1483. Situated on a hill with the Serra d'Ossa for backdrop, the location chosen for this settlement could not have been better. This once prosperous village was at its peak home to over forty people. The surrounding land is very fertile and is used today to grow vines

Both the village and surrounding land were once the property of a rich nobleman, D. Luís Galvão Coutinho Freire. Its privileged location was its downfall. Being so close to Estremoz, Borba and Vila Viçosa its inhabitants gradually moved to the cities, abandoning the village permanently in 1980's.

Mirroring the desertion crisis of the Alentejo, the village of S. Gregório suffered no changes to its original 15th Century architecture and layout. With the passing of time the streets were covered over by weeds and the walls and roofs of the building fell in. But, this did not change the original style of the village, making it a unique location of incalculable historic value.

Deserted and abandoned, the village was bought in 1998 with the sole aim of restoring it for an innovative form of tourism in Portugal, namely Village Tourism.

Recovering the Past The reconstruction of the Village of S. Grégorio is in itself one of the main attractions of those who visit. It took over two years to restore the village to its former glory. Little more than a few walls remained of the abandoned village when it was bought. Nature had overrun the street and the insides of the building destroyed. The recovery of the village had to remain as true to its original architectonic style and layout as possible, and include modern-day comforts and luxuries. In order to maintain the main aims of the project construction techniques of the period were used. The streets were reconstituted to what they may have looked like in 1483. Great care was also taken over the individual decoration of each house so as to maintain the sober and easily identifiable look of rural Alentejo. Details, such as the smoke-chimneys and steps of suspended stone were preserved and put to use again. It took over two years of work to recover the village to its original architectural beauty, making S. Gregório a unique place where modern-day comforts and historic wealth cohabit in a civilised manner.