Located between the Nabão River and the Serra de Sicó massifs, the town of Ansião has been occupied since pre-History and has memorial and heritage registries from Roman and Arab times. It received its charter in 1142 and, in 1175, was first mentioned on official documents. However, it was because of the administrative reform carried out during the reign of King Manuel that Ansião received its second charter and a time of prosperity began, which culminated when King Afonso VI elevated it to the category of town after the Portuguese Restoration.
At the town’s centre, you can visit the Matriz Church, with its Baroque door, have a rest in the stairs of the 16th century pelourinho from which you can enjoy the view to the Palace of the Ericeira Counts which is nowadays the town hall, or cross the Cal Bridge above the Nabão River. You should also visit the Monumental Complex of Santiago da Guarda, located at the old Castelo Melhor Counts palace which has a medieval tower and a Late Roman villa dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries. You will certainly be impressed by its wonderful mosaics.
There are many historical and cultural traces near-by awaiting your visit: the Atalaia and Alto do Pisca tapirs and the Alto do Pisca or the hill fort of Escampado de S. Miguel, the medieval oven which has been used in the town of Avelar for centuries and the beautiful retable painted by José Malhoa in 1933 to decorate the main altar of the Chão de Couce Matriz Church.
At the end of your visit delight your taste with local delicacies. Taste Rabaçal cheese accompanied with Terras de Sicó wine while you wait patiently for a generous portion of roasted lamb or cacholada (a stew made of pig lungs, liver, blood and fat).
Near the town of Ansião, you can watch several headwaters which feed the course of the Nabão River. The most important is Olhos d’ Água where, during the winter, amongst walls and rocks, the Nabão waters gain speed and run freely so that, when spring comes, rare flower species can bloom between the rocks. The massif thrives with ivy, honeysuckle or several species of orchids, inviting a walk through the mountain.
Venture and discover Serra de Sicó!