Tiles fit for a Queen

by Friday, October 9, 2020

Imagine a town so magical, so beautiful, it was part of the dowry of all Portuguese Queens for centuries. Enter Obidos.

After initially being given as an extravagant wedding gift in 1282, from King Dinis to his beloved Isabel, every Portuguese monarch for the next 600 years would do the same creating Casa das Rainhas, the House of Queens.

I’d heard this was Portugal’s ‘most romantic town’ and begged Getaway to do a story on it. I wasn’t disappointed.


Today, I’ve brought a part of both my adored Obidos and Portugal home, in the form of these ‘azulejos’ tiles. They now cover my bathroom wall, after spending years in a box in my parents garage. I bought all I could with the last of my Getaway ‘per diems’, at a time when I had no credit card or internet banking. Imagine that!


You’ll see these tiles all over Portugal and Spain. Introduced during the reign of the Moors, King Manuel I brought the idea back to Portugal after a trip to Seville. He thought ‘what a cool way to cover some blank walls’, in a Portuguese accent of course. Today, the nation is covered in what is now considered both art and history revealing stories.

In Obidos, I wandered into a studio where generations of craftspeople had been making these tiles, Casa dos Azulejos. I hope you can visit one day. Please send them my love if you do. Buy something and you’ll always have a piece of Portugal with you.

What pieces of your travel have you brought home?

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