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The Comenda Palace, Serra da Arrábida National Park, Setubal Portugal


Hidden Gem

Deep within the luscious forests of the Parque Natural da Arrábida stand the remnants of a mansion with a surprising history of secrets. Abandoned to degradation and graffiti, Palácio da Comenda was once known as one of the most regal palaces on the European coast, having hosted Portuguese royalty, French aristocracy, and the First Family of the U.S.


True Palace in a property inserted in the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park, with an area of ​​over 600 ha with the Sado River meandering at the border of this property. The origin of the Palace dates back to the eighteenth century. It was once a residence of the highest European royalty due to its beauty and exceptional location and surroundings. In 1848 it was sold by D. Maria, Queen of Portugal. Rebuilt at the beginning of the century. XX, already in the period of new state, designed by architect Raul Lino deep humanist and in solidarity with a more complete universe, considered by many the most remarkable Portuguese architect of the century. XX. The Palace was owned by the Counts D`Armand, Kennedy's personal friends. At the time of the assassination of US President J.F.K. widow Jacqueline Kennedy gathered with her children here at the palace with her friends. The 5-floor, 26-room Palace is potentially geared towards a world-class hotel project.


The story 

Construction on this site dates back to the Roman period with a fish salting industrial complex, as well as a medieval watchtower that gave rise to the S. João da Ajuda platform.  It's about this platform  bastion that is built  the first house of Quinta da  Commendation, still existing  when purchasing the  property by Count Abel  Henri Armand, in 1872.


It is estimated that the house originates from the eighteenth century and was the residence of the highest European royalty, derived not only from its location, but also from the natural characteristics of the surrounding space. It is in March 1872 that the Fifth that had formed the Commendation of Mouguelas, owned by the Order of Santiago, belongs to the then Minister of France in Portugal, Count Armand.


The Count and the Architect

In 1903, Count Armand invites Raul Lino, one of the most prestigious Portuguese architects of all time, to design his house.  Legend has it that he asked the architect, before starting his creative process, to sleep one moonlit night  absorbing the spirit and energy of the place.  The result was the Comenda Palace, whose design collaborates with the landscape, creating an unparalleled synergy with the lush landscape.


The palace 

The palace is built on a small promontory overlooking the Sado River, near the town of Bocage. In this promontory there was the old house, whose walls were raised over the walls of the old fort, being used in the new construction.  Very generous sized balconies open onto the river.  1st floor and ground floor plants  Building of simple lines, national channel-shaped tile, together with the materials and construction techniques used, make this property one of the best forms of traditional Portuguese architectural expression.


An aristocratic place of choice  This house was designed for a summer, where the Count took refuge from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Usually, the Armand family yielded this house to distinguished personalities of the European aristocratic circle. Quinta da Comenda has an enviable situation, being on one of the best Mediterranean coasts, comparable with Sardinia or Côte d "Azur, but with a unique tranquility.


Raul Lino da Silva, better known as Raul Lino (Lisbon, 21 November 1879 - 13 July 1974) was a Portuguese architect, designer, architectural theorist, and writer. Lino's architectural theses and studies revolved around the theory of the Casa Portuguesa (Portuguese: Portuguese house), an idealized concept of Portuguese residential architecture, planning, and lifestyle. 

The cities of Cascais and Sintra, along the Portuguese Riviera, boast the largest concentration of Lino's constructions out of anywhere. Lino played an active part in the cosmopolitanization of Cascais as a summer resort for the wealthy and notable and in the continuation of Sintra as a historicist, romanticist haven. 

Early life

Raul Lino da Silva was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on 21 November 1879, to a well-off construction materials merchant. His family's financial standing allowed Lino to leave Portugal, in 1890, to study in Windsor, England, for three years. Following his studies in Britain, Lino moved to Germany, where he would study under and eventually work in the atelier of German revivalist architect, Albrecht Haupt, until 1897, when Lino returned to Portugal to finish his degree in architecture. 

Early career



The Quinta da Comenda, in Setúbal, was built by Lino for the Count of Armand in 1903.

After returning to Portugal and finishing his studies in architecture, Lino began to work in his father's construction materials business, in 1897. During this time, Lino began his travels across Portugal and his studies of the regionalisms in architecture and style, paying particular note initially to the Alentejo region. 

Back to Portugal, he designed and built more than 700 projects. Many were in the Mediterranean Revival and Soft Portuguese styles

He was a founding member of the National Academy of Fine Arts and served as its secretary in 1946. 

Lino was a habitual guest writer for various Portuguese newspapers and journals, including the Diário de Notícias, the Diário Popular, and Atlantida. 

A Casa Portuguesa

Lino also wrote many books and texts about the theory of the architecture of the Portuguese house, such as A Casa Portuguesa - The Portuguese House (1929), Casas Portuguesas - Portuguese Houses (1933) and L'Evolution de l'Architecture Domestique au Portugal - The Evolution of Domestic Architecture in Portugal (1937). 

Selected works

Some of his most important projects were: 


Above is shown pictures of the Armand family and the completed Palace re-design from 1909, plus the young Count Armand in a seperate shot. One shot with the tree in the foreground shows the previous palace design from the c18th. Also shown are Raul Lino's blueprint drawings of the design. 

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