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Located on a plateau of the Serra de São Mamede mountains, Portalegre was a properous town in the 16th and 17th centuries due mainly to the textile industry, and its tapestries, though there is now only one factory at work, are still famous. Fortified by King Dinis in the 13th century, it also displays beautiful Renaissance and Baroque mansions.

The cathedral, built in 1556, suffered profound alterations between 1737 and 1798 and exhibits beautiful tile panels and paintings. Three convents (Saint Francis, Saint Claire and Saint Bernard) are also worth seeing: the latter, built in 1518, contains the marble tomb of its founder, bishop Dom Jorge de Melo, and is one of the most elaborate in Portugal.

The Municipal Museum displays from religious art to a wonderful collection of Portuguese ceramics, and the José Régio House Museum (a well-known writer who lived from 1901-69) has various collections of religious art and folk art objects.

The gastronomy in the region is also highly appreciated, from the delicious sausages and other pork cured meats to gaspacho, a cold soup including tomato, garlic and cucumber, and ensopado de borrego (stew of young lamb with a rich gravy).

After lunch, visitors can drive from Portalegre to Pico de São Mamede, 1025 metres high, along a winding road with fine views throughout the way.

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