Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Two Benfica Quintas

The next morning beautiful, at which we much rejoiced as we had arranged to start for Cintra at mid-day . this we did, and had a fine view, as we were leaving Lisbon, of the church at the Estrella, and not long after, of the three highest arches of the aqueduct, and for several miles here and there we caught a glimpse of this grand work. On the road to Cintra we pass the gay Quinta das Laranjeiras, ot the Orangery, a suburban seat of the Conde de farobo, better known with us as the Baron Quintella. Strangers may obtain a ticket of admittance by application at the Conde’s magnificent town-residence in the Rua do Alecrim – Rosemary Street. Both the town and country mansions were somewhat over-furnished and over-ornate ; the wealth of the owner is everywhere conspicuous. Detached from his villa is a private theatre, one of the most splendid in Europe. In the grounds are various gardens, a labyrinth, summer-houses, costly conservatories. The king of beasts, with his grim court of tigers, panthers and other uncivil brutes, is royally lodged in a marble menagerie. There is an artificial lake, a

canal for irrigation, and a suspension bridge, and an obelisk which was raised by the father of the present proprietor, as a memorial of the expulsion of the French.

The present residence of the princezss Dona Isabel, who was regent till the arrival of her brother Don Miguel, is also in this neighbourhood. It was formerly known as the Quinta of the Marquis of Abrantes, also of De Visme, by whom it was laid out “in the English taste.” It is famous for its botanical rarities. Here are two of the finest cedars of Lebanon in the kingdom ; two South American pepper trees, of rare beauty and height ; two Japan salisburys (Salisburias de Japan ?), the only specimens in Portugal, and an avenue of magnolias.

Journal of a Few Months Residence in Portugal and Glimpses of the South of Spain
Dorothy Wordsworth Quillinan, 1847

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