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Ristorante Tema | Romantic Dinner in Rome after a Pleasant Walk.


Ristorante Tema is certainly a great choice for a romantic dinner in Rome after a pleasant walk in the wonderful Italian Capital, a very recommended establishment just two steps from the Baroque and Monumental core of the city in a very pleasant and inspiring corner which transmits the fascination of the most popular characterful spirit of the first Italian metropolis.

The major centre pf the Italian Peninsula is always a a destination in which every tourist is immediately fascinated by its endless patrimony, eternally transmitting that special feeling to stay in front of unique artistic masterpieces  hours and hours.

 The city is also a place in which is always a pleasure to enjoy a pleasant evening promenade also discovering its more representative and popular districts delighted by a delectable meal in a cosy,splendid and welcoming Roman restaurant tasting with immense pleasure the local typical delicious cuisine rooted in a secular and famed culinary tradition.

Roman gastronomy since a long time ago strongly entered in the international catering panorama with a relevant success and it is is always a brilliant opportunity to combine to the historic marvels of the city during your stay to an iconic endless list of delicious specialities which is for many people a mandatory appreciating the most famed recipes  in an absolute culinary Eden as the city of the seven hills.

The Ristorante Tema is a very recommended place for its quality in terms of food and urban location. That catering establishment is  located in Via Panisperna at the civic number 96/98, a street crossed  by the famous Via Cavour an important road running in front of the emblematic Coliseum and directly leading to the majestic square Piazza Venezia and Via dei Fori Imperiali, that notorious  long historical boulevard which boasts many of the most impressive architectural treasures of that superb ancient Empire linked to one of the most relevant civilisations all time.

That fine restaurant in addition is not far from Santa Maria Maggiore with the important Railway Station Stazione Termini on one side and the busy road Via Nazionale concretely situated in the core of the Rione Mont,  a quarter which is also a great place for its very captivating and appealing atmosphere.

The name Rione Monti means District of the Mounts deriving from some of the iconic hills surrounding the eternal city such as the Celio, Esquilino, Viminale and Quirinale,four of those famous seven heights dominating Rome which were well known to be the sites on which summits the Emperors developed a large part part of the history of that former Imperial city  and constant points of reference to elevate something of extreme relevance to continue the success and the prestige of their dynasties.

That district is a great place which immediately transmits very pleasant feelings, reflecting in its kind one of the most popular and traditional Roman neighbourhoods  situated in the historic centre, a place which was considered  once a destination for a bella passeggiata,a lovely walk for several prominent and distinguished artists. 

Goethe, Schopenauer,D´Annunzio and Berlioz to mention a few during their stays in the Italian Capital found in that enchanting borough one of the ideal places to escape from the magnificent but also busy monumental area, a special corner of the stunning Rome which became for them a sort of little delighting refuge also to find their most divine inspirations generating some of their iconic and renowned works.

The Rione Monti was for those famed characters as a sublime haven to breathe times of peace and an enjoyable break coming back later in a further cultural immersion strolling the streets of the monumental Roman core so close and immediately reachable in a few minutes to re live the magic views of the most sumptuous marvels of the city.

Via Baccina and Via Dei Serpenti next to Via Panisperna where is situated Ristorante Tema are some of the most appealing streets of that district in which everyone can breathe the air and aura of the past but also of the fascinating present thanks to the presence of charming shops,artisans workshops and all around them a further a maze of picturesque alleys flanked by typical taverns and traditional restaurants forming all together a very captivating urban setting.

The local architecture is mainly reminiscent the 19th century a period in which important architectural  movements completed the numerous masterpieces erected in  Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque styles  delighting Rome with charming lines of buildings totally in harmony with the old and emblematic monuments situated just a few metres away.

The superb presence of iconic palaces such Palazzo del Viminale,Palazzo Koch and Palazzo delle Esposizioni combined with a multitude of Churches of relevant historic value scattered in different corners of that captivating borough are certainly a further great accent in a a scenery simply wonderful.

That district also boasts a marked Bohemian atmosphere but not extremely  sophisticated as those of other cities, it is also romantic,charming but at the same time sober and not too pompous.

Those special features made it an ideal place loved by many artists,poets,writers and philosophers searching their inspirations sitting in one of those typical trattorie of that district which in their kinds are also live cultural symbols.

They always attracted a multitude of people finding in them apart a superb cuisine with protagonists fresh products and genuine ingredients but also that unique charming atmosphere consisting  in soft lights emitted by nostalgic lanterns placed in strategic corners along narrow streets which give more fascination to that place. 

Immediately coming in the Restaurant, the air of that establishment is very welcoming,warm and pleasant  and you will feel very positive sensations in a while. The environment in the interior is luminous and bright and on the light walls you will immediately notice a series of Renaissance and Mannerist landscapes paintings depicting captivating images in total harmony with the fine selected furniture and that very attractive combination is something that is very appreciated at first sight.

As brilliant contrast but in perfectly tuning and absolutely great in its kind is also the presence of some Modern paintings chose with taste also to transmit something of  eclectic and alternative with those pictures placed in strategic spaces..Nothing breaks the balance of the setting despite those representations are reminiscent of different historic periods and all is greatly integrated in a very attractive layout.
 
In some strategic points of Ristorante Tema you can also see some other relevant details added with clever talent to pay homage to the Ancient Rome as a hymn to the stunning Imperial period which completes as a superb additional feature a brilliant choice developed to fill with taste and criteria the  aesthetic arrangement of its interiors with something very significant to elevate the image  of the Restaurant closely linked to the distinctive history of the city.

The traditional and historic touch in some items,objects, architectural elements or representations have always captured the human eye for their scenic and in some cases astonishing presence of determined details selected and placed with taste. 

All that immediately and frequently created a visual appreciation of the customers who feel themselves delighted by the scenic image of a pleasant  environment also for its true authenticity and that is something pretty rooted in the most fine hospitality and catering industry.

All  in the Restaurant is harmoniously highlighted by a soft intensity of light present in the rooms arranged with taste and style, doors and walls are greatly decorated with coloured rhombus and attractive lines in the masonry and the clear red brick floor perfectly matches with the rest of the chic and romantic architectural elements placed all around the layout.

On the tables you will notice classical fine silver chandeliers to give that plus for a splendid dinner adding that fine and a bit glitzy  touch of Belle Epoque style which is a further detail in terms of hospitality taste to receive the guests with a more than stylish welcome.

The Staff and Managers are very friendly, kind and immediately you feel like at home and the service very attentive and professional .Excellent is the notable presentation of the plates and Ristorante Tema provides a wide selection of starters to start in the best way your meal, with a pretty varied selection of delights such as the best Italian ham, delicious national salami or the divine and iconic Bruschetta among others.

Naturally you can enjoy the most typical Primi Piatti, many of the main courses are linked to the the most traditional Roman cuisine such as Spaghetti alla Carbonara using the traditional Guanciale consisting in the most selected pork cheek according the true and emblematic recipe, Gnocchi, Penne all´Arrabbiata and one the speciality of the house is the Penne Sette Peccati,Penne Seven Sins.

Fish and seafood are also some of the main and sublime highlights of the Restaurant and you can try there as suggestion a delicious sea bass combined with potatoes and tomatoes or a tastefully swordfish,both highly and extremely appreciated.In addition you can also select a delicious risotto with prawns and about pasta linked to sea products worth a mention the Tagliolini all´Astice absolutely excellent.

Next to all those delectable specialities the list provides a more than excellent choice consisting in  an exquisite range of meat dishes such as delectable grilled steaks,superb Braciole and the typical and traditional Saltimbocchi alla Romana, one of the more distinctive plates of the Roman culinary panorama.

The meticulous selection of fine white and red wines from Lazio and Colli Romani next to a wide list of many others of different and varied origin and provenance is a further great detail which conquers the customers for an excellent variety of choices. a .Notable is also the offer about  desserts ranging from  the most traditional Tiramisú to the classical and delightful Pannacotta among others.

A shot of aromatic Limoncello at the end of your meal immediately after a coffee will be a sort of special sweet and aromatic elisir to remember Ristorante Tema for a long time.

In the Rione Monti you can breathe the air and the popular essence of the Vecchia Roma, the Old Rome strolling its appealing streets and stopping for a while in a captivating square and all around you that indisputable magic aura which will transmit you enjoyable vibrations which is something else more before to reach the imposing imperial monuments and outstanding Baroque masterpieces situated just ten minutes away.

A romantic dinner and after that Rome is always ready to open its doors to every visitor for a further evening journey of immense charm also under artificial lights showing all its incomparable and unmistakable beauty. 

For all that and more Ristorante Tema is perfect for everyone,a suggestion is also for who is planning a special event, an anniversary and of course a great destination for St, Valentine, the right place for couples in love.

You can easily reach the Restaurant by tube by Line B with stop at the stations of Cavour or Colosseo and in just some minutes walking you will be at that site. I added the link of the establishment and something more in the case you are thinking in a future short break visiting the Italian Capital and some others related to the Roman cuisine if you are interested to know some interesting things linked to the local culinary art. 
 
If you are planning to visit Rome and during your stay you have to choose places to spend a lovely time filling your hours as a romantic dinner tasting delicious food in that wonderful city, for its strategic position and also to discover the captivating charm of the Rione Monti, after a pleasant walk Ristorante Tema could be a more than brilliant idea which will definitely satisfy you.

Francesco Mari


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Morocco - Ten Tips to Discover better this Beautiful Country and its splendid People.



Morocco is one of the country I visited more,it has been for long time along other Mediterranean countries one of my favourite countries and one of my products I loved and I love.If you are planning a trip to this noble and great Maghreb Kingdom I would like to suggest some tips.Morocco is a wonderful country with many faces,glad if I can help you in something.

1) Mentality and enthusiasm.When you are planning to visit Morocco,you have to leave your country with the enthusiasm and the mentality you are going to visit not a special country,a VERY SPECIAL country.The colours,the lights,the aromas,the lifestyle and the culture is very different than all the Western Countries.The enthusiasm and a very positive mentality will help you to know better this country and the culture,and honestly there is a lot to learn.

2) Morocco Full Tour.To know Morocco in a good way,I suggest a full Tour,visiting this country from North to South,in this way you can discover the Real Morocco,the Northern Morocco is very different than the South like the centre is very different than the West Coast.Lifestyle in Tangier is very different than Marrakech,just like Casablanca is so different than Fez,or Meknes than Rabat.f you can not visit the major part of Morocco,plan to come back once again.A great idea is a Tour of the Imperial Cities,if you can with then extension to Agadir on the coast or extension to the Sahara other brilliant experience.Another suggest is  a tour of the North Morocco starting from Tangier including Meknes,Fez,Tetouan and the coast and coming back a second time to visit the South starting from Marrakech.

3) Interest.More you are interested to know further more the splendid Moroccan people will help you to know more and more you can imagine.If you go to this country with superficiality,the locals do not consider you you a great tourist or an interested visitor.If you are totally interested they will suggest you many things and you will discover many things you could not imagine,the Travel Guides are excellent to see with your eyes something you never read in no Travel Guide too.Moroccan people is open to the conversation and they love to transmit you their culture with all their effort.The Berber culture is proud to show or explane you the best.

4) Respect - There is a high value and concept of respect in Morocco.If you are very respectful,you will receive a lot of respect,the cultural interchange is very aprreciated,you talk and listen,you listen and talk.The monologs are not very appreciated,wish always a good goorning,good evening or good night,wishing a good day is normal,everytime.In the bargaining ? Always respect,the vendor is doing his job he does nor want to lose time,if you are interested show him you are interested,playing games or joking is not very well aprrecciated.Bargaining is part of ancient culture and tradition,ok to be tourists but the respect is important.The business is business,there are always terms of agreement in a kind,polite,stylish way.If you are a Gentleman or a Gentle Lady it is very very appreciated,very much,you are a number 1 there and in the World.

5) Tolerance in the big traffic of people. The Moroccan cities are very populated in the Medina and Kasbah there is a big traffic of people,locals,tourists,people from other cities of Morocco,the tolerance is a focal point,everyone is on the street to do something,shopping,the vendors,walking for pleasure or going to meet friends.You will meet many many people in the big cities as Marrakech,Jemaa el F´na in Marrakech is only the most famous example,this square is promotioned for its unique aspect and life,but in many other places of Morocco is in part the same,although Marrakech is very special unique in its kind but it is not the only big a big mass of people.The number of people in a Moroccan city is different than other European or Western cities for culture,lifestyle and attitude.

6) Visits of Minor cities.If you have the opportunity,visit the minorcities,Larache,Asilah,Ouarzate,Assouira,El Jadida,Kenitra,Safi,Cap Malabata and so on.In these centre you will discover culture and lifestyle different than the big cities as the Imperial Towns or big metropolis.A suggest for example when you are in Rabat visit Saleh very close and different in many aspects than the Capital although the short dinstance.In the minor towns you will discover local gastronomy,the artesanal activities live everyday,people wants to know you and to show you places and to explain more things than you imagine about their culture,history and why for example Ouarzate is different than Marrakech nor only for number of inhabitants.Also the minor cities are Real Morocco,at the same level than Marrakech,Fez,Tangier or Rabat.

7) Talking.I talked to many people about my Italy and Sicily,they were very interested,it is a very good way to have an intercultural interchange,discover the difference or something similar is always great,talk about gastronomy,sports,literature,history and art.Talking is a way to discover more everyone,about art and history there is people really well prepared,the conversations can become simply fantastic.Moroccan people then wants to know how much you know their country,if you know Morocco and their culture there is a great athmosphere of chat and great respect if you want to know more,they are glad to transmit you more,you ask they answer.

8) Atay .The Tea is a great signal of respect and in some cases admiration,accept with pleasure the invitation and rechange,Thee Atay is part of the culture,brotherhood,social life,friendship,collaboration,it is not a simple drink,it is something special,not only an act it is an emblematic symbol of an ancient culture.

9) Eating together . If you have the luck to be invited by some family,eating together is a great experience Eating from the same bowl or plate is symbol of social life,share something together is a great signal of respect and other sentiments,the food os for all,cooked,served and ready for all,common life is another point of this culture.

10) Humility-To be Modest- Never show to be a star or to challenge someone,showing you think to  know more than others.What you know you know you have not to wear a mask,the mask is hated,if you know they know that,you gain respect with your humility,if you know you have respect,admiration and friendship.Ifyou know something Moroccan people is very receptive to learn and listen you.Humilty is a great success of everyone,


Francesco Mari

Tavira | Algarve Lights and Colours in the City of 37 White Churches.



Tavira is a splendid destination to enjoy those unmistakable and incomparable stupendous Algarve lights and colours in the city of  37 white Churches, a very characterful and suggestive place with a rich cultural patrimony and a relevant past all to narrate highly fascinating.

That captivating centre of approximately 28,000 inhabitants on the banks of the Gilão  river and on the shore of the Atlantic in Southern Portugal,  a historic site which shows with extreme pride all its charming environment highlighted by picturesque white houses, winding streets, picturesque alleys which increase their magic appeal when they are illuminated by magnificent dawns and unforgettable sunsets also highlight and part  of a simply unique scene highly inspiring.

Situated in the district of Faro bordering the municipalities of Alcoutim, Vila Real de Santo António, Olhão, São Brás de Alportel and Loulé very close to the Spanish border and its community of Andalusia, Tavira is highlighted in its boundaries by wonderful beaches  and a fascinating shoreline, representing one of the truest images of that land totally reflecting the pure essence and spirit of that Southern European Region in a myriad of aspects.

It is enough a walk around its harbour seeing the fishermen repairing their nets and always busy in a chat during their operations, strolling the narrow and windy streets of its historic centre flanked on both sides by attractive whitewashed constructions with colourful painted shutters and doors and you can immediately breathe the air of the traditional and genuine old Algarve more alive than ever in that centre emanating in a while a special and unique charm.
 
Famous all around the country as the City of 37 Igreias Brancas, the City of 37 white Churches, that great number of Religious buildings present in the boundaries of Tavira is really impressive despite the size of that Portuguese Eastern Algarve Municipality is not too big undoubtedly also that stunning presence of a relevant historic patrimony adds much more appeal and interest transmitting an immediate desire to discover all its boundaries metre by metre.

Those numerous emblematic Sacred constructions are obviously a shining highlight as stars in a magnificent sky and that scenery is  the result of an active artistic and cultural activity in the course of the long history of Tavira combined with the immense historic patrimony of its Cidade Velha, the old town in which many other buildings show in all their splendour the typical Manuelino architectonic style, an iconic architectural movement born and bred in that country which is a further attraction that Portuguese centre boasts.


Tavira is also identified for its delicious smells originated by those superb flavors and aromas of an excellent local gastronomy among the most delectable of the entire Region, a site always highlighted by a mild climate all year with that special and eternal cool evening breeze surrounding the scenic image of its port and the lanterns scattered along its urban arteries illuminating that site which takes a perfect mix of poetry and genuine vivid reality in a very attractive scenery highly fascinating, enchanting the visitor at first sight.

The local atmosphere is much more highlighted enjoying a typical tavern tasting a glass of fine wine and including having a chat with the local fishmongers talking about the catch of the day, if there is available fresh Bacalhau, that famous and delectable cod.

 At the tables of a bar old men playing cards and you can sit there and starting a lovely and pleasant conversation with them about football with special protagonists the iconic Clubs of that country such as the Sport e Lisboa Benfica, Futebol Club do Oporto or the Sporting Clube de Portugal of Lisbon frequently main subjects and favourite themes of those nice locals.

You will know and discover better Tavira and its secrets also with those little things, chatting with the locals, very kind people and once there you can enjoy a conversation about everything and furthermore they will suggest you many interesting things as the best points of the local beaches where to go and what to visit in the surroundings as special hidden marvels only them know or including you can start to talk about gastronomy and they will recommend you where to eat an excellent and delectable Cataplana

That Portuguese centre is as special as its great people and that is Tavira in all its popular and alive human splendour and fascinating atmosphere. A centre which apart to be a great and suggested destination for art and history lovers offers great beaches, many chances to practise water sports such as sailing, wind and kite surfing, diving, excursions by boat along the coast of the Ocean in an environment with a total absence of pollution. 

Many are the chances to visit the Algarvean coastline with many sites of immense beauty such as Praia da Rocha, Faro, Portimao, Albufeira, Lagos, Cabo de Sao Vicente but also very interesting places in the interior as Loulé and Silves and the inland offers a fantastic hilly countryside ideal for cyclists and trekkers

The proximity of Andalusia, one of the most fascinating Spanish communities is a further incentive to plan radial excursions to Cadiz, Huelva and their magnificent coasts but also the wonderful Seville which is situated at 177,0 kilometres of distance.

Excellent communications a wide range of comfortable accommodations and a gastronomy always ready to satisfy the most exigent tastes are also great features of Tavira with many chances to organise enogastronomic itineraries also tasting the iconic fine wines of the Algarve. 

Bathed by the Atlantic Ocean on its Southern side that immense extension of water always played an important role with the landings of different civilisations and point of departure of local navigators towards new discoveries in far countries  according to historic documentations Tavira was inhabited in the late Bronze Age era approximately in 1000 BC.

Explored by the Phoenicians since the 8th century BC the settlement became one of the first relevant centres of the entire Region populated by famous those ancient settlers who chose that land to develop a former fortification with high walls, two trade harbours and two Temples dedicated to venerate their Gods such as the Sea and the Thunder.

The first name of that town was probably according to some deep historic studies, references and rests found in the area Baal Saphon which are the names in that ancient language of those two very regarded divinities.

Although that population was mainly dedicated to maritime activities concentrated in trade, commerce and to discover new places where to establish their busy activities apart those constructions they also created a first urban plan with the construction of some roads connecting the town to some villages situated in  the immediate surroundings.

That population was well known to be very peaceful and always focused to create productive processes related to an increasing economy but an internal war for the monopoly of determinate businesses destroyed Baal Saphon in the 6th Century BC. 

The reconstruction of the original centre was pretty slow and the renaissance of that old wealthy site started under Tartessian rule when the Phoenicians abandoned that land looking for fortune towards other ports of the Mediterranean and the nearest eastern Atlantic.

It was probably that period which corresponds to the golden ages of the former town, one of the most important flourishing, historic and artistic cycles of Tavira soon known from the current Spanish city  of Huelva at east to  to the extreme villages of Algarve close to the Cabo de Sao Vicente such as Sagres and Lagos as a very significant hub and cradle of culture highly admired.

The Tartessian civilisation left that centre in the 4th century BC to concentrate their activities in the current Spanish Costa de la Luz especially along the Cadiz coastline and for that the former Baal Saphon had a sad decline. The marine activities ceased to be successful as in the past, several pirates attacks devastated that active and advanced settlement and that centre became almost depopulated.

Many of the inhabitants to escape by desolation and an uncertain destiny in a very unsafe place to live decided to move to  Cerro de Cavaco, a hill dominating the current Tavira where they found a safe refuge a bit far from those continuous assaults and invasions with corsairs ravaging every coastal village or hamlet.

The town was later conquered and settled for a period by the Carthaginians which established there one of their harbours part of a notable network including placing a relevant fleet until the conquest in the 1st century BC of the Iberian Peninsula by the Roman Empire which re-gave importance to that site.

The Emperor Augustus ordered to built a Presidium a sort of base with a strategic check point overlooking the Atlantic coast and later a Castrum, a centre hosting soldiers and families of officers. Another considerable operation  was that related to the reconstruction of a new port which was called  Balsa and that name was derived by the junction of the first letters of the ancient former name Baal (Bal) and Saphon (Sa).

The splendour of the past in activities, importance and prestige returned in a very short time and also Cerro de Cavaco which hosted scared people escaping from incursions enjoyed a new image, enlargement and development becoming a very flourishing seat hosting some notable Patrician Families linked to the highest noble ranking of the Imperial Rome in that time with the advent of the Octavii dynasty.

With that prosperous life in those times Balsa received the title of Roman Civitas, an official Roman Town and it was also awarded as  Flavianas Civitas to honor that famous Roman Patrician Flavian Dynasty , the second in the history of the Empire ruling Rome from 69 to the 96.

New several attacks along the coast by Suebi, Silingi, Alans and Visigoths and the fall of that Empire in the 5th century determined the decay of that  superb town of Eastern Algarve. The former centre practically returned uninhabited becoming a humble a peaceful Freguesia, a coastal village with its main resources consisting in fishing and some small trades with the nearest villages on the coastline and of the interior mainly concentrated in livestock.

For a new renaissance the current Tavira had to wait for the Moorish conquest in the 8th century. During the occupation of Andalusia, the Moorish also penetrated in the Southern Portuguese coastline occupying all the current Algarve in a massive operation led by the Umayyad Caliphate with protagonists as leader Musa ibn Nusayr, governor of Ifriqiya who encharged his lieutenant Tariq ibn Ziyad, a Berber General member of a tribe called Nafza related to a big tribal confederation called Al- Butr which occupied in that time a large part of the current Tunisia.

Once reached the boundaries of the former Balsa and Cerro de Cavaco and easily defeated the Visighots not prepared to face an impressive massive land of the enemy they started a fast development of that centre reusing the foundations of many Roman buildings and linking that site to Castro Marim and furthermore with the Costa de la Luz until the city of Welba, former Arab name of the current Huelva.

Those new rulers renamed the former Balsa in Al-Tabira from which derives the current denomination of the municipality which translated means the "the hidden"and the region was called Gharb-Al Andalus meaning west of the Al Andalus, the big Caliphate founded in Andalusia.

That civilisation gave a new aspect to the town with the establishment of new palaces, a Medina,a centre with a notable cultural and social life, high imposing fortified walls but in particular the construction the main highlight was the elevation of a Ribat, a strong castle which gave that centre a new prestige and an image of power.

The strong Moorish influence is still very visible in the local architecture which continued since then to use the white as predominant colour highlighted by painted doors and shutters, small stone steps and also very rooted executions of decorated and painted handmade tiles.

Those former rulers from North Africa left new systems of irrigation which were the pioneers of the current marking an important development about agriculture activity with a notable production of citrus, grapes, vegetables and fruit.

Another detail which links that civilisation to Tavira is the famous bridge called by many people Ponte Romana, the Roman Bridge. For its name everybody can intend that construction was left by the Roman Empire but in pretty recent studies it was declared a Moorish construction  dated the 12th century and probably rebuilt over a former passage established in the same place during Roman rule.

In the times of the Arab domination the town started to be very active also in terms of maritime trades as an important cross point along the entire Algarve coast and including was developed a very important harbour for the navigation between the Portuguese Atlantic coastline and the Maghreb reaching the current Moroccan harbours of Tangier and Rabat.

Tavira after the famous Reconquista, the Catholic reconquest led in that place in 1242 by Dom Paio Peres Correia was managed in a very short time expelling by the town all the Moors leaving just some traces of the ample quarter called A Mouraria, the Moorish borough which is represented in its kind the former Kasbah of the current Tavira.

The town  followed the history of the  the Spanish Kingdom with the consequent Independence of Portugal in the 17th century and it became an active centre of fishing and of salt production.

As the major part of the country also that centre suffered the terrible earthquake in 1755 which generated several damages with a very difficult and slow restoration trying to save the important cultural and historic patrimony.

The centre of Tavira is mainly concentrated along the shore of the Gilão  river which ends its course in the Atlantic crossing the Municipality from north to south. Rua do Cais is an important street along the banks of that waterway while the wide central square Praça  Dt. Antonio Padinha is linked to the other side of Tavira by the famous pedestrian bridge previously mentioned, the Ponte Romana characterised by its seven arches.

That emblematic construction was and is the main connection from the old town to the new and not far from it there are all the most important historic attractions. 

From that point you can take Rua da Libertade, a long artery which crosses the municipal core and starting the visit coming in Praça da Republica, a big square which is one of the emblematic symbols of the Municipality.

That large urban space has a considerable historic value because it was the place of the old Marche de la Ribeira which for long time was the most important local market and one of the busiest of the Algarve, a site  in which were concentrated all the commercial activities with the presence of  many merchants coming from the entire Algarve and including from Spain to establish their businesses and trade operations.

In the middle of the square was erected a monument in honor of the soldiers died during the 1st War surrounded by a series of white buildings. Today as in the past that place is one of the most important and liveliest meeting points for locals and main transit of tourists to start the visit of the charming  historic centre of the emblematic city of 37 white Churches.

Rua da Libertade, Freedom street is one of the most important arteries in the heart of Tavira and along it you can admire a series of fine buildings and palaces in typical Manuelino Style that architectural style you can see in superb examples in many streets of the Portuguese Capital, Lisbon and pride of Portuguese art.

That style was born in Portugal and totally developed in the country, a 100% National architectural emblem and if you visited the major centre of that country one of the most beautiful example is represented by the iconic and magnificent Mosterio de los Jeronimos. (I wrote a post about that magnificent city)

The concept of that style since its inception was a sort of exaltation of the inspiration partially took from the Italian Renaissance with cradle in Tuscany transformed in an emergent National key but also taking some specific inspirations in terms of lines by the Medieval Gothic, the Flemish and the Spanish Plateresque styles.

That refined movement is characterised by the development of sculptures and decorations with a magnification of allegorical and natural figures  protagonists of the scene in the layout inserted to impress to human eye at first sight and an use  of special materials consisting in different kind of stones and also the representations of images closely linked to nature such as flowers and plants all them placed next to Christian symbols as Crosses are other items related to Religious themes.

A large use of semi circular vaulted arches and niches are among other highlights just like a notable presence of conical pinnacles and in addition there is an accurate attention to the executions of lines and curves looking for sinuous trajectories but without particular attention to the symmetry of the architectural elements.

The name of that street as other in all Portugal derives the famous Portuguese Revolution dated 25th April 1974 called Revoluçao do Cravos, the Carnation Revolution which changed the history of the country with the fall of the dictatorship led for 34 years by António de Oliveira Salazar and ended in that year with his successor Marcelo José das Neves Alves Caetano with the final epilogue of the Estado Novo, that corporatist authoritarian regime installed in Portugal in 1933.

You can continue the visit with the Igreia da Misericórdia one of the local historic highlights a splendid  Religious construction erected by the architect André Pilarte between 1541 and 1551, a local artist who participated to the elevation of the  Mosterio de los Jerónimos in Lisbon. 

Until 1700 it  was used as Parish Church of the community. It is a great example of Renaissance architecture not only in Algarve but in all Portugal and despite the sober front side, it is classified as one of the Renaissance examples established in the Algarve for its defined outlines and balanced layout and it was declared National Monument.

That splendid granite building  boasting a wide facade with an image of the Virgin placed over the main doorway and flanked by the Coat of Arms of Portugal and  another depicting that of the Municipality and under a fine vault reliefs you will also see the images of the Saints and Evangelists Peter and Paul.

The interior boasts a relevant artistic value with an magnificent use of decorated typical painted blue and white tiles dated the 18th century depicting in 18 works the spiritual theme of Mercy, several fine works depicting the life of Jesus Christ and a series of refined beautiful white columns with capitals.

The main central altar and the chapels on the sides are also dated 18th century and they represent a hymn to the most sublime Baroque art in Portugal highlighted by golden altarpieces and  the complex is completed by a small charming cloister annexed to the building.

The Fortaleza, the former Al Tabira Ribat Moorish Castle is another of the main tourist attractions and iconic symbol of the defencive system of the old city during the Arab-Berber rule. That fortress was the core and stronghold of the old town with high imposing walls erected around the centre between the 8th and 12th centuries.

The original structure was remodelled after the Reconquest and also in the 17th century but unfortunately today due the tragic earthquake in 1755 the only remains are a section of the ancient walled structure, a part of the Alcazaba, the main central body,  partial remnants of the central nucleus and the Arco da Misericórdia, the Arch of the Mercy. 

Despite you can see nowadays only the rests of the original structure but you can try to think in a sort a imaginary puzzle linking those rests imagining a bit how was big, majestic and large that castle simply looking at the perimeter formed by the visible sections.

From the fortress you can enjoy a spectacular view towards the Atlantic Ocean and the local coastline absolutely wonderful. detail regarding that construction is that in the year 1939 due to its high historic value it was declared National Patrimony of Portugal.

Adjacent to all what remains of that relevant local symbol you can enjoy the splendid Mediterranean vegetation of the Parque do Castillo, the park of the castle, an excellent point to have relaxation in the shade of palm trees and that place is since a long time ago a very loved place by locals and tourists an idea natural environment and a pleasant green municipal lung to have pleasant walks very close to the monumental area.

Another  of relevant historic monument of notable relevance is undoubtedly the Igreia de Santa Maria do Castelo. That Christian religious temple which was originally erected in Gothic style replaced by a former Mosque using its foundations.

It  was erected on a rectangular plan and it is highlighted by a charming high and light facade which is one of its main highlights with a splendid arched doorway flanked by two semicircular windows and on the top you will notice the presence of a huge pediment surmounted by an iron Cross.

The Church was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755 and it conserves in its interior the iconic tomb of Dom Paio Peres Correia, the famous Portuguese Knight member the Santiago Order who fought against the Moors and other seven knights were buried under the altar. Another splendid attraction is a magnificent Chapel in a refined Manuelino style considered for lines and decorations a stunning masterpiece.

After that magnificent visit you can continue with the small Convento San Antonio de Capuchinos, a small Convent elevated in the 17th century. It is a very simple construction developed on a wide rectangular base with white walls and green doors containing interesting figures in natural mud depicting St. Anthony and his life

Furthermore you can admire some stupendous frescoes by Portuguese School dated the 17th century and a beautiful  altarpiece which shows an excellent example of  Rococo style, a bit pompous for someone but elevated as one of the most complete works made in the Algarve.

The Igreia de Sao Francisco is a further mandatory during the visit and it is the Church dedicated to St. Francis representing another local marvel. That building was originally a former Monastery built in the early 14th century and it is one of the relevant patrimonies of medieval art established in the region all time also for all what it represented during its history.

The sad earthquake in 1755 and a fire dated the late 19th century were causes of laborious works to save that construction which due to all that changed its former architectural aspect in the current visible today consisting in a white structure erected on a rectangular plan while in its interior worth a special mention a wonderful Baroque altarpiece with magnificent refined decorations.
  According to historic information it was a donation of the Templar Knights to the Franciscan monks to develop the Catholic Faith in that area of Portugal. After that the Sacred temple was restored and arranged several times and closed for a period when the Franciscan order was temporary suppressed after flourishing times when in that seat were conserved important Religious historic archived and very active in teaching of theology.

The town is also famous for its splendid beaches and Tavira is a great point to start to explore and enjoy kilometres of wonderful sandy golden stretches all located along the splendid Natural Park of Ria Formosa.

Ria Formosa is a long string of land running along the coastline forming famous salt marshes, the lagoon of Tavira and separating in a bar of sandy dunes the mainland by the the beautiful Ilha Tavira, Tavira Island.

The most important beaches very recommended are Praias Ilha Tavira on the island you can reach from the pier Cuatro Aguas or walking along the Ponte Pedras del Rei from the Tourist complex with the same name. 

They are really spectacular consisting in over 11,0 kilometres of golden fine sand flanked by crystalline waters and offering fantastic view towards the town. Obviously in summer season that great place is very busy for the immense beauty of its environment.

There are other great beaches you can admire, one of them is Praia do Barril, it is one of the favourite by tourists and locals, pretty long and wide with a section of that magnificent sandy stretch  reserved for nudists while others very suggested are Praia da Tavira and Praia do Homen Nu both highlighted by fabulous soft light sands while and pretty spacious, boasting as the first mentioned a deserved Blue Flag, excellent are maintenance, cleanliness and surveillance services.

A further which worth a mention for its excellent quality and I recommend you is Praia da Lacém, a great place with magnificent golden sand, at sunset it is simply spectacular for the tonality of the waters illuminated by the sun rays falling on its light surface in contrast with the emerald tonality of  the waters of the Ocean and it is very loved by romantic couples and enthusiastic photographers.

In the last decades those beaches have always been awarded with the blue flag, the area does not suffer contamination due to the absence of industries or other kind of causes generating pollution. That Southern Portuguese centre mainly lives of Tourism and the local Institutions  preserve those marvels as main sources of revenue despite there are two other activities which continue their long traditions such as the salt production and fishing.

The presence of those splendid wonders makes Tavira also a wonderful seaside resort perfect to practise many water sports and in particular windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing and also diving.

Apart those activities linked to the sea in the surroundings is also possible to enjoy excellent walks and excursions to the wonderful Sierra de Caldeirao also called Sierra de Santa Maria. It is a wonderful destination for the presence of a large number of beautiful eucalyptus and pine forests, scenic landscapes and tiny villages scattered around that stunning hilly picturesque territory .

The media altitude of the peaks in the proximity of the municipality is approximately around the 500,0 metres and they are an excellent defence against cold winds and rain. 

Those hills are also a a magnificent training space for Mountain Bikers and cyclists with some challenging climbs and dirt trails. From their summits you can enjoy striking panoramic views making that area very suggested also for photographers, a perfect place to combine  maritime and hilly pictures of extreme beauty and contrasts for the presence of scattered olive groves and rows of vineyards which add a further pleasant accent to that magnificent rural area.

In that Sierra in addition you can discover the true and genuine interior of Portugal with small farms, kind people, excellent gastronomy and natural products and if you want to discover more about the local life very suggested is a visit to a museum situated in Cachopo, ideal site to know and learn more about the local crafts and artistic techniques of the local artisans of the Algarve.

Apart that place, there are other interesting villages and one of them I suggest is Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo. It is a small centre of approximately 2,500 inhabitants famous for its white houses, a site very peaceful and notorious for its lively market.

That place is linked to a suggestive legend saying that St,Catherine of Alexandria appeared next to the local fountain of the Bishop and from that miracle born the current name. All around its boundaries you can enjoy a very attractive environments with several almond, fig and olive trees and several scattered orchards developed on low plateaus.  

A further suggested is the other small centre of Santa Luzia equally charming,for its scenic small harbour, it is a small site of less than 1500,0 inhabitants the major part of them devoted to  fishing, a well known place for the octopus catch sold in many markets of the Algarve and for that it is nicknamed the capital do polvo, the capital of that product.


Those sites are great to insert during an itinerary in the case you are planning to visit that corner of Eastern Algarve, and other local villages worth to be visited are Conceiçao,  São Estevao, Luz de Tavira and Santiago da Tavira all realities which preserved the genuine and true charm of the past extremely rooted, small centres in which you can feel and enjoy the real appeal of the region escaping for a while from the typical touristic places and to be delighted by the unmistakable bright  colours of that special land.

Also the most important literature of the country is present in that Portuguese centre with that emblematic figure corresponding to Alvaro de Campo, a heteronym of the famed writer Fernando Pessoa from Lisbon, a sort of imaginary alter ego of that iconic and famous artist who invented that character and he was born in Tavira in 1890 developing some poetry works in the decadentist and futuristic literary cycles which saw Pessoa as protagonist.

Cuisine in Tavira is simply sublime, probably one of the best destinations of the entire Algarve offering  a more than varied gastronomy with very genuine, fresh ingredients and products. In that resort you can taste the most exquisite Cataplana, a delectable special fish and seafood stew, but also a delicious Bacalhau Grelhado,  grilled cod and a more than tastefully Arroz  Marinheira, an exquisite seafood rice.

Notable is the offer of several kinds of fish and seafood every time more than tastefully, such as sea bass, cod, squid, mussels, clams, prawns and shrimp among others. 
 
The Atum Grehlado is a plate consisting in grilled tuna simply delicious just like the Atum a Algarvia, a notorious dish containing that kind of fish seasoned with lemon, onion, pepper, garlic and fa touch of vinegar accompanied by potatoes and also very recommended is the Bife the Atum, a very tastefully tuna steak.


Do not miss to try the famous Caldeirada do Peixe a delicious fish stew and the excellent and popular Sardinhas Assadas, very tastefully grilled sardines. 

The proximity of the Sierra also offers the chance to try excellent cheeses, superb olives and including tender pork and lamb chops.Other traditional plates very common are the Frango Assado, a delectable Roast chicken ,the Perna de Borrego, baked young leg of lamb both served with potatoes or mixed salads and very ample is the variety of Cozidos, special stews prepared with different kinds of meats adding Chorizo, Morcilla, lard, beans and chickpeas combined with various vegetables.

The local fine wines will accompany your lunches and dinners in the best way thanks to their high quality and reputation. Touriga Nacional, a local Cabernet Sauvignon and Castelao are among the most important selected wines but you can find and taste in that area of Portugal a sublime  Trincadeira and a noble Siria great products highly recommended.

The grapes of that Portuguese area are robust and resistant and their value is favoured by a very mild and sunny climate thanks to the 300/305 days of sunshine a year. Cultivated at a right altitude the red wines are very smooth and immediately palatable at the first sip, very eclectic with body and texture and with that unique and unmistakable dark red tonality simply superb.

The whites have different notable qualities, a pure and immaculate light colour, transparent and no peculiar shades very savoury, fantastic in a meal with fish or seafood and also drinking them very cool in social times, they are very versatile accompanying a divine a cocktail of prawns and slices of goat cheese.

It is very easy to reach Tavira located just 38,0 kilometres from the International Airport of Faro via E1/ A22  Motorway and in approximately 40 minutes driving you will reach that place.

If you are in Spain in Costa de la Luz in the area of Huelva you can take the A49 to Vila Real de San Antonio and following later the A22 in direction Faro and in a short time you will be in that special site of Southern Portugal.

A stay in Tavira it is a great way to know the genuine spirit of the true Algarve with its traditions, lifestyle, art, history, the City of 37 White Churches with its splendid landscapes between sea and hills and those colours and lights of that region eternally alive and intense are simply unique, absolutely something of magic you will remember for a long time with immense pleasure and nostalgia.




Francesco Mari


Recommended Accommodations in Tavira

Hotel Vila Gale Albacora
Hotel Pousada de Tavira
Hotel Rural Quinta do Marco
Hotel Cabanas Resort Park
Hotel Herdade Da Corte


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