Palácio do Ramalhete, an old urban palace owned by the Taborda family, bearing the titles of Dukes of Palmela and Counts of Póvoa, contains a long history. The garden suite, one of the areas contained in the building dates back, among others, to the 17th century and emerged perfectly unscathed from the big 1755 earthquake.
Many distinguished guests, who belonged to the European nobility, have visited the palace throughout the centuries, such as the Dukes of Windsor, Augusta Victoria Hohenzollern, King Manuel II, Pedro de Sousa Holstein, the Count William Schaumburg-Lippe, King Louis I of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, but also many important personalities of Portuguese and European culture and history.
Portuguese writer Eça de Queirós, one of the most important writers of Portuguese history and close friend of the Taborda family, described the palace in his book Os Maias, as follows:
“The house in Lisbon to which the Maias moved in the autum of 1875 …was known in the surrounding areas of Janelas Verdes, as Casa do Ramalhete, the house of the Bouquet of flowers, or more simply, as Ramalhete. Despite that fresh green name worthy of some rural retreat, Ramalhete was a large stern house of sober walls, with a line of narrow wrought-iron balconies on the second floor, and, above that, a row of timid little windows sheltering under the eaves, a house which, as befitted a building dating the reign of Queen Maria I., had the gloomy appearance of an ecclesiastical residence, and indeed, to complete its resemblance to a Jesuit college, it needed only a bell and a cross. The name Ramalhete, doubtless came from the square panel of decorative tiles placed in the spot intended for a coat of arms that had never materialized, and which depicted a large bunch of sunflowers tied with a ribbon on which one could still just make out the letters and numbers of a date……
…The biggest surprise was the courtyard: once a bare and gloomy place paved with flagstones, now it positively glowed, with its white and red marble tiles, decorative plants…” from Os Maias, Eça de Queirós, translation by Margaret Jull Costa.
In all areas of Palácio do Ramalhete, we can still feel today the exclusive elegance and glamorous environment of past eras, when high nobility and the elite of European society came together.