As we travel through the Serra do Açor, while letting ourselves be enchanted by the majestic and pure landscape, curiosity and impatience invade our senses. Piódão insists on remaining hidden, to then, unexpectedly, dazzle us with its architecture, which so well exemplifies our ability to harmoniously adapt to the most inhospitable, as well as the most sublime of places. As if it were a nativity scene, the houses have been built around the terraces, dotted by blue and black schist, between winding and narrow alleys, which in each corner hide the history of the Historical Village of Piódão.
Our history your time
Piódão is a village nestled in the Serra do Açor on the steep escarpment, with a sinuous and mesh-like layout, it is well-adapted to the roughness of the surrounding space. The pastures of Serra de São Pedro do Açor, filled with springs, attracted Portuguese shepherds who fed their flocks there. In medieval times, a small village formed, which was given the name, Casal Piodam, which later moved to its current location, perhaps due to the establishment of a Cistercian Monastery at that time, of which no traces remain; therefore, placing the village’s founding in the 13th century. This monastery may have been linked to the ancient worship of Santa Maria of the Main Parish Church, common in Cistercian Abbeys. Although there is no memory of this ancient church, the current church was amplified in the 18th century, and remodelled in the 19th, through the initiative and based on the project of Canon Manuel Fernandes Nogueira, who designed a façade suited to the eclectic taste of the time, with a Neo-Baroque pediment, with spacing by four slender cylindrical buttresses, crowned by conical spires. Inside, the limestone image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, from the 15th century and perhaps from the first church, with carved altars and adorned with tiles made in Coimbra, is worth a visit. Also worth mentioning is the S. Pedro Chapel with its 16th century image. It is said that one of Inês de Castro's assassins, Diogo Lopes Pacheco, settled here, and his surnames still exist today in Piódão, the Lopes and the Pachecos; the latter had the right to their own gallery in the Church of Lourosa. In the Numeramento Joanino of 1527, the first national population census, Piódão appears as part of the village of Avô, as "casall do piodam" with only two residents. It later became part of the Civil Parish of Aldeia das Dez, from which it became independent in 1676. On 24th October 1855, it became part of the Municipality of Arganil, when the municipality of Avô was extinct. However, with regard to religious jurisdiction, it remains linked to the archpriestship of Avô. At the end of the 19th century, Canon Manuel Fernandes Nogueira founded a School in Piódão, which many call the Seminary, which operated between 1886 and 1906, and which brought together many young people, creating a cultural centre of profound importance for the area. The village of Piódão is characterised by its unique layout in an amphitheatre shape, referred to as a schist nativity scene, with the houses being of great formal, architectural and aesthetic unity. The houses, in schist stone masonry, have roofs made with slabs in the same material. The windows, small in size, have, like the doors, strong colours painted on the frames, and at Easter, crosses made with the blessed laurel branch, are placed on the lintels of the doors to ward off the evil eye. Through its steep, narrow and winding lanes, which form nooks in a mesh-like and largely preserved structure, a trickle of water runs here and there in an irregular channel: the aqueduct. Of note is the simple Algares Fountain. Agricultural and pastoral activities have continued up to this day, as in the past, and are an integral part of the way of life of its inhabitants, seen essentially as a way of subsistence and survival. Also noteworthy are the Eira, where you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view, and the Bread Oven. The village has been classified as a Place of Public Interest since 1978.
What to see
Bust of Canon Manuel Fernandes Nogueira
Manuel Fernandes Nogueira was born in Loriga in 1861. He was ordained a priest in 1884 and arrived in Piódão in 1885. In 1886, he founded a school that prepared students for entry into the Seminary. More than 200 boys passed through the school before it was torn down during the work to improve the square in 1906. Many students continued on to complete higher education courses and about 30 were ordained priests. He died in 1944.
In the upper part of the village there is a community threshing floor. In small and isolated villages, communitarianism was a working model, a practice of communally using infrastructures (irrigation systems, ovens, threshing floors) or vacant spaces, essential for the survival of the respective communities. This space was used for drying and threshing cereal crops, such as rye, and pulses, such as beans. The profusion of engravings and drawings on the various stones from the threshing floor are noteworthy, many of which correspond to podomorphs (shapes of soles of feet), individually or in pairs. It is assumed that these representations are related to prayers for good harvests or the conservation of goods.
Main Parish Church
The church was only built in the 17th century, but it is almost certain that before it, an older church existed in its place, for which the limestone sculpture of its patron saint had been carved, dating from the 16th century, and still remains preserved inside. The 17th century church has undergone several restorations, namely an expansion at the end of the 18th century, and a remodelling between 1898 and 1900, when it was in a very poor state of conservation. At this time, the façade was rebuilt, through the initiative and based on the project of Canon Manuel Fernandes Nogueira, who designed a façade suited to the eclectic taste of the time, with a Neo-Baroque pediment, with spacing by four slender cylindrical buttresses, crowned by conical spires. This intervention also resulted in the construction of the bell tower and the high choir. The church also includes 18th century altarpieces, with images of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, St Michael and St Sebastian, but during the restoration work of the last century some of the carvings were painted, and the 19th century tiles in the nave, of blue and white, were replaced by modern ones.
Where to eat
It has been open since 1989, but was recently remodelled in 2012. This restaurant serves traditional regional food, such as goat stew in a wood oven, pork sausage, grilled trout, among others. We also accept orders for roast kid. Restaurante Fontinha is inside the village (near the fountain), making it the perfect rustic spirit. The building is made of traditional schist on the outside and inside, making it exceptionally beautiful.
Story Studio Piódão
The contemporary-style Story Studio Piódão is a house in schist with blue painted doors and windows. It is located within the Historical Village of Piódão and features a mezzanine bedroom, living room, kitchenette and bathroom. For our guest's comfort, the accommodation is equipped with underfloor heating, bioethanol fireplaces, free wifi, TV with over 150 channels, and two electric bikes. Maximum occupancy 4 persons, of which: 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 children.
Casa da Padaria
Inspired by local architecture, Casa da Padaria is located in the historical village do Piódão in Serra do Açor. Many call it the nativity village because of the layout of the houses on the hillside. It´s most seductive feature is the landscape and its welcoming atmosphere. The restoration of the old bakery was completed in 1998 and artisanal construction methods and natural regional materials were used, such as wood and schist to cover and insulate the house.
Hotel Inatel Piódão
This hotel is built in schist and is located in the beautiful, isolated historical village of Piódão. If you’re looking for adventure this hotel is a good starting point for exploring the mountains. It has 27 fully equipped rooms, bar, restaurant, heated swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, gym, games room, meeting room and wi-fi. Private parking
What to do
Just Go – Actividades de Animação Turística
A JUST GO é uma Empresa de Animação especializada em atividades turísticas no território da Beira interior. Situados no coração da cidade da Guarda, planeamos com pormenor os programas de maneira a que cada experiência seja única e inesquecível. Tudo é pensado com profissionalismo e responsabilidade.
Por estarmos inseridos numa região com grande potencialidade, conseguimos proporcionar experiências diversificadas, a quem nos procura, desde: provas gastronómicas, provas de vinhos, roteiros pelo Vale Glaciar do Zêzere, Gravuras Rupestres, Tour de Kayak, Sunsets, Miradouros, Tours pelas Aldeias Históricas e pelas aldeias Medievais de Portugal, manhãs com o pastor ou trilhos de caminhos com bicicleta elétrica, entre outras.
Pedal to Enjoy – AMBikes
A nossa empresa nasceu no final do ano de 2014, iniciando a sua atividade ao público no dia 5 de Janeiro de 2015.
Sobe a denominação comercial AMBikes, sediámo-nos na Rua de Olivença, localizada na vila de Arganil, com uma loja física e oficina dedicada ao ramo da comercialização e reparação de bicicletas e acessórios.
Contudo, desde o primeiro dia que foi objetivo da empresa a ligação à área da Animação Turística, nomeadamente com a oferta de atividades que envolvessem a utilização da bicicleta. Assim, em 2020 nasceu o projeto Pedal to Enjoy, e nesse mesmo ano a empresa passou a possuir registo na Rede Nacional dos Agentes de Animação Turística (RNAAT) e CAE para o devido efeito.
Apesar da AMBikes operar em vários ramos económicos diferentes, todos eles são complementares e centrados nesta nossa paixão que é a bicicleta.
Posto isto, a nossa visão para o projeto de Animação Turística passa por posicionar a empresa como uma referência no ramo do cicloturismo, comercializando serviços premium de elevada qualidade. Temos ainda a ambição de oferecer dinâmica à região onde estamos sedeados, efetuando atividades e eventos que convidem as pessoas a visitar esta zona com assiduidade, sendo isso um fator positivo para o desenvolvimento sustentável da economia local.
Assim, a nossa missão passa por oferecer uma experiência única ao turista, conjugando um passeio de bicicleta elétrica por locais de elevado valor natural, cultural e histórico, guiado e apoiado por pessoas experientes e de grande conhecimento regional, com o melhor da gastronomia tradicional local, o artesanato e o convívio.
TRY PORTUGAL – Adventure, Nature & Culture
TRY PORTUGAL promotes personalized programs and experiences of active and cultural tourism, exploring the Natural, Historical and Cultural heritage of the country. All programs in autonomy or with guides are created to guarantee experiences of gastronomy & wines, culture & traditions. We highlight the interior regions that are still unknown to most travelers, through thematic vacation programs, the provision of tourist services, and the organization of sports & cultural events. Services: Thematic tours, active tourism programs, guided tours, organization of cultural and sporting events. Our tours are designed to include one or more of the following activities that are available in the region: Walking & Hiking - Mountain & Road Cycling - Water trails activities - Air activities- Horseback Riding – Rock Climbing – Wellness & Yoga Retreats - Ecotourism - Geo-tourism - Cultural & Historical Tourism - Creative Residences - Impact Tourism & Volunteering COME TRY PORTUGAL!
Adventure and nature trips
We are a registered tour operating company and we base our activity on the values of legal compliance, nature protection and sustainability. We operate according to the Portuguese legislation and we hold a special accreditation from the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests allowing us to drive inside Nature Parks and other protected areas (where permitted)- We are members of the Natural.pt brand (www.natural.pt), reserved for companies who adhere to the programme. Following the recent pandemic we got our Clean & Safe seal from the Tourism Authority signifying our compliance with the official health requirements for the prevention and control of infections. Our trips are much more than just going from A to B and we distinguish ourselves for having a higher purpose: the knowledge and promotion of the historical, cultural and environmental heritage of Portugal, so that in the end our guests will have lots of stories to tell. In each new journey through some of the most beautiful and remotest places in mainland Portugal, we discover a unique, authentic and truly surprising country with a sense of adventure and discovery that enriches us as human beings. Our offer is based on a personalised service with tailor-made trips meeting the personal interests of our guests. We are constantly exploring and spending countless days on the ground in contact with the local people and organisations in search for the best places of interest and the best routes. As a result of this research, we have acquired a deep knowledge of the whole country which allows us to give our guests a renewed level of novelty and differentiation in each event. During our events we privilege the contact with nature in a legal and responsible manner, with the aim to reduce the impact of our passage, by working with official entities and other environmental organisations. Every year we plant many autoctonous trees in an effort to make Dream Overland a carbon-neutral company, an action that our customers can support and partake in. With our trips we contribute to the social cohesion and economic sustainability of local communities, through the knowledge and promotion of their traditions, handicrafts, produce and local heritage.
Beltour – Turismo e Eventos
Portugal A2Z Walking & Biking
Powered since 2006 by your passion for travel, Portugal A2Z Walking & Biking was created to offer you authentic experiences and unforgettable memories in the most exclusive places in Portugal, taking you to the most historic places and wild landscapes. The perfect example of this is our holidays in the Historical Villages. Each one more surprising than the one before, prepare to cross mesmerizing landscapes, going through some of the most impressive Portuguese natural regions like the Côa Valley, with their cave paintings, the Estrela Mountain Range, with the highest peak in continental Portugal, or Faia Brava, the first private conservation area in Portugal. And at the end of each day, explore another village, each with a different story to discover, between castles and walls, between taverns and gourmet restaurants, between centuries-old traditions and the latest inspirations. Dare yourself to wear the shoes of the great conquerors who fought for the oldest European border while restoring your body and mind with pure air and breathtaking views.