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Amarante - ancient home of love

 The charming town of Amarante is set along the banks of the River Tâmega. This ancient settlement was founded as "Turdetanos" in 360 BC and went on to prosper under the Romans. Built in 1790, the town’s impressive bridge was the scene of heroic resistance in 1809 by the people of Amarante, who held off forces under French Marshall Soult 14 days before his army advanced. Set 28 miles east of Porto,the town's annual Festa de São Gonçalo takes place on the first Saturday and Sunday in June, the  is among the most colorful fairs in Portugal. Traditionally, it is the time for unmarried people to exchange phallus-shaped cakes as tokens of their love. You get the idea....


What to see? Dating back to 1540, the exotic honey-gold granite façade of the church and former monastery of São Gonçalo houses a lovely interior of painted columns and a dramatic high altar, under which exists a little golden chapel where Saint Gonçalo himself lies buried. Saint Gonçalo was born in Amarante at the end of the 12th century, and is revered for his many healing miracles. The church also has a magnificent Renaissance cloister.

The town’s museum is dedicated to the life and work of locally born Cubist artist Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso (1887-1918), one of Portugal’s leading 20th-century artists.


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