On the slopes of the Douro valley there are six villages that stand out for their cultural richness and unique landscapes. Barcos, Favaios, Provesende, Salzedas, Trevões and Ucanha are the six wine-producing villages in the region that offer unique experiences with their heritage, their cuisine and their compelling nature.
Trevões | © Rui DiasCasa da Calçada | © Alexa Pinto, Creative CommonsUcanha | © Rui DiasSalzedas | © Rui DiasBarcos | © Rui DiasFavaios | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasTorre de Ucanha | © Vitor OliveiraUcanha | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasUcanha | © Rui DiasSalzedas | © Rui DiasSalzedas | © Rui DiasBarcos | © Rui DiasBarcos | © Rui DiasTrevões | © Rui DiasProvesende | © Rui DiasProvesende | © Rui DiasProvesende | © Rui DiasProvesende | © Rui DiasProvesende | © Rui Dias
The wine-producing villages, as they have been known since 2001, are home to an ancient history that is intrinsically linked to wine. These localities are implementing a programme to protect and rehabilitate the urban areas and landscapes they form part of. Every year since 2007 they have hosted the wine-producing village festival in September and October, filling the streets with spectators, entertainment and activities. All of the festivities are sponsored by the local producers of food and wine.
In the village of Favaios in the Alijó region, visitors can sample home-made bread and Moscatel wine. The wine and bread museum tells the story of how these products are important to the region and how the population has evolved over the centuries. The history of the ancient Flavian dynasty in Favaios dates back to the Iron Age when the people lived in fortified villages called castors with strategic locations. The remnants of these walls can still be seen today.
The village of Barcos is found on the banks of the river Távora, part of the Tabuaço region. Santo Aleixo is also found in this region and is where the first monastery was established during the Early Middle Ages. Barcos is home to various vineyards, such as the Quinta do Serro. The Portuguese writer Abel Botelho (1855-1917) wrote about the region in his story, O Cerro in the Mulheres da Beiras in 1898. The Matriz de Barcos church from the 13th/14th Century was classified as a national monument in 1922 and is one of the most valuable elements in the region.
San Joanes, now known as Provesende, is one of the oldest settlements in Portugal and is found in Sabrosa. The village of Provesende is home to the Santa Marinha temple which dates from the 4th or 5th century, it was presented by the Queen D. Constança de Leão (c.1046-1093) to the Sé in Braga (a Cathedral). It was also in this region that the wine producer from the Douro, Joaquim Pinheiro de Azevedo Leite Pereira (1829-1918), began the fight against Phylloxera, the grape disease that attacked the Douro in the 19th century and almost destroyed the Port Wine producing tradition.
Trevões is known not only for being a wine-producing region, but also for producing olive oil, fruit and vegetables as well as the wood that comes from the pine and eucalyptus trees. The village of Travões is part of the São João de Pesqueira region and is home to a museum which opened in 2001 and tells the story of the daily lives of the people in the village, their habits and their evolution over the centuries.
Salzedas was originally called Algeriz and is a rural village found on the banks of the river Torno in the Tarouca region. In 1163 this hunting ground, known as the Algeriz, was presented to D. Teresa Afonso (c.1100-1171) by D. Afonso Henriques (1109-1185). The land was then given to the Benedictine monks, who had succeeded the monks of Cister, by Egas Moniz’s (1080-1146) widow. The Benedictine monks developed agriculture in the region by ploughing the fields that surrounded the monastery.
The village of Ucanha, another wine-producing village, can be found in the same area as Salzedas. Ucanha is one of the oldest settlements and it dates back to the Roman occupation. It maintained its own local and legal autonomy until the 14th century.
Each one of these wine-producing villages is unique, but they all have one element in common: their traditional wine culture that occupies this compelling land and the people that live there.