Etnography & Traditions

Portrait of a Region

Portrait of a Region

One of the jewels in the Alentejo’s crown is its landscape. The plains and hills are uniquely beautiful, as is the region’s traditional architecture.

The “monte Alentejano” (traditional hilltop farm) that we know today originated at the beginning of the 1st Bronze Age, 7th-century BC, and was the result of the mass movement of people from large settlements to the interior of the southwest of the peninsular.

Inspired by the Mediterranean architecture handed down by the Phoenicians, this urban model prioritises private space, while offering the open and infinite space of the Alentejo.

The simple and rectangular stone houses, with sober façades and solid forms, are single storey with few openings – a window and a door. The exterior is whitewashed with blue or ochre borders, and it is common to see people sitting on the doorstep.

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The basis of its construction lies in the heritage handed down from generation to generation and in the materials provided by the land. One of the most common is rammed earth, a technique resulting from the need to conserve heat in the winter and coolness in the summer. Other features include lime and brick, two materials that add texture, dimension and character to the houses.

Part of this history and identity are still appreciated and inspire contemporary architecture. An example of this is the Adega dos Lagares winery at Herdade do Esporão, which, having been built using rammed earth, not only provides the best conditions for producing our wines, but is also a tribute to the region’s architecture.

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We wanted Monte Velho to carry a bit of the Alentejo’s architecture as well. Being part of the region’s identity, it is automatically part of this wine’s history and project. We continued to combine the past and present in a visual campaign. It was through this tradition and its history, now linked to new projects and ideas, that we created the image of the “Casa Alentejana” (the Alentejo house).