Italian architect Luigi Manini designed the four-hectare Quinta da Regaleira, located near the historic center of Sintra, Portugal, with its enigmatic buildings, believed to hide symbols related to alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templar, and the Rosicrucians. The architecture of the palace evokes Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline architectural styles. The construction of the current estate commenced in 1904 and most of it was concluded by 1910. It is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the “Cultural Landscape of Sintra”.
Quinta da Regaleira was built in a Romantic revivalist style, in an imitation of Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architectural and decorative forms, mixed with a mythical and esoteric symbolism
The property consists of a Romantic palace and chapel, and a luxurious park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The palace is also known as “The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire”, which is based on the nickname of its best-known former owner, Brazilian coffee tycoon, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, aka ‘Monteiro dos Milhões’ (‘Moneybags Monteiro’).
Luigi Manini’s intervention at Quinta da Regaleira moves away from the model of the picturesque garden of the 1st half of the 19th century. The structure of the park, determined by the morphology of the terrain, is outlined based on a main path that crosses the property, from which a network of tracks and lanes wind across flowerbeds, gaining winding shapes and creating an illusion of spontaneous incompleteness. It is a garden to be experienced in constant motion, stimulating the imagination through a variety of contrasts and scenes. The monumental trees, the play of light, the water effects, and the fanciful architecture instill a sentimental perception of the spaces, in the dramatic style of Romanticism. Construction began in 1898 with the works on the foundations of buildings, embankments, and the ingenious network for abstracting and distributing water. In 1903, part of the exotic vegetation was imported from Brazil and by 1908, the construction of the palace and chapel, together with the renovation of the greenhouse and large iron gates and railings, was completed. By 1912, the property was virtually complete.