Discovering One of Northern Portugal’s Secrets

There is a small and very charming village called Provesende, lying within the Douro demarcated wine region, in the county of Sabrosa (northern Portugal), which is an absolute must to visit.  Sabrosa incidently is the birthplace (cerca 1480) of the famous Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first person to circumnavigate the world.

Provesende’s history dates back to Moorish times when Zaide, brother of King Jahia of Toledo, lived in the castle of São Domingos in the vicinity of Provesende.  It is said that one day the castle was attacked by Christian forces and the moors perished but Zaide escaped only later to be captured, tortured and eventually murdered.  Provesende is said to have derived its name from the fact that during Zaide’s last moments of suffering, it was exclaimed “Prove Zaide, Prove Zaide” (meaning taste Zaide) – hence the resulting homonym “Provesende”.

Exploring the village on foot is the best solution as it is very quiet and almost untouched, boasting numerous historical sites such as its pillory (1573), Baroque church (1720), fountain (1755), as well as an array of very beautiful XVIII stately manor houses which attested to the economic strength of the region’s fertile land at the time.  Today sadly, many of these old manor houses are in ruins and it is heartbreaking to see them crumbling away with time.

I absolutely love Provesende and one particular place that I always stop at is the Café Bar ‘Arado Museu’ in the main square, where the owners have gone out of their way to establish the most amazing little museum kept in mint condition and just a sight to see.

The moment we step through the door, one is drawn into another era of Portuguese history where every imaginable piece of farm equipment, kitchen item, stuffed animal, wine making utensil, household item can be viewed.   The owners have gone to great lengths to ensure that each piece is polished and beautifully preserved and in some cases they have added their own characteurs and personal touches thus adding life to some of the exhibits.

Enjoy a excellent expresso or beer up at the bar and just sit and take in all the detail that surrounds you – it is unbelievable.  Spend a moment to see the slideshow of photos of what this little treasure trove of a café has to offer to the local traveller.

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This entry was posted in History of Portugal, Pillories, Portuguese Coffee Shops, Walking in Portugal and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Discovering One of Northern Portugal’s Secrets

  1. restlessjo says:

    I was in the Douro valley for the first time 2 weeks ago and it lived up to all my expectations. I remember seeing Provesende on the map but we didn’t have a car and only a brief amoount of time, but I will be back.

  2. Pingback: "This is our Douro" | Anita's Feast

  3. Pingback: Portugal – Alto Douro (Pinhao and Provesende)

  4. dumdeedumdi says:

    is it far from Pinho? will be there for 2 nights and would love to go Provezende as a day trip 🙂

    • portugaluntouched says:

      Hello, Provezende is about 20 mins drive by car from Pinhão. If you don’t have your own car there are taxis available in front of the train station. It is absolutely beautiful and you can eat at the very tiny restaurant called Papas Zaide. See this site for more info. Enjoy your time there.

  5. dumdeedumdi says:

    Thank for the info! Can’t wait to visit Provezende 🙂
    Papas Zaide seems to be a famous restaurant not to be missed! Most people recommend oelho de porca assado no forno com vinho do Porto. Anything must eat?


  6. Steve Jones says:

    There’s an incredible bakery – the Panaderia Fatima. just opposite the Cafe Bar Arado Museu which is easily missed. The couple who run it bake 180 loaves each day in their wood fired oven. The bread is wonderful and once it’s sold, it’s sold. The bakery itself is one of those places that hasn’t changed in the past 50 years, but won’t probably be around for a lot longer.
    Worth the trip to Provesende just for this unique experience,

    • portugaluntouched says:

      Thanks for our comment and yes I know it well! My bet too that it won’t be around for much longer. Definitely worth the trip to Provesende… Thank you for sharing.

  7. Steve Lustig says:

    We just took a taxi there and then hiked down to Pinhão on a trail.

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