The Palácio do Correio-mor (which sometimes appears translated as Palace of the High Courier) has a funny history. Its first inhabitants were merchants who possessed immense wealth, and whose ancestors, converted Jews, had in 1606 bought from the king a life-time monopoly on running everything postal in the country and abroad. This lucrative business (which lasted for nearly two centuries) allowed them among other things to build this fashionable new palace in the 18th c.
Most likely designed by an Italian, the façades are light and elegant in spite of the many Baroque devices used – especially in the central bay, where a fountain separates entry and exit to the porte-cochere behind. This bay is a study in Architectural composition, with the bottom arches being echoed in the niche above, and the transition of the low, elliptical fountain arch all the way up to the pediment via different arches and a pointed cornice break.
The only complaint we have is that the massing is a bit two-dimensional – in fact, both the central bay and its flanking walls are in the same plane, giving the impression that the elevation was designed and built by people who never spoke to each other. In any case, it is breathtaking with the vast park behind, has great detailing and the interior holds many surprises.
We will be visiting the palace on June 11, details here. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join in.