Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg was one such person, and Carvalho Monteiro was another. A highly cultured man who had made a fortune in Brazil, Carvalho Monteiro, like many before him, chose Sintra as a suitable place to realise his spiritual dream.
He did so at Quinta da Regaleira, a beautiful estate less than 1km away from the old town centre. Although the palace and chapel of Regaleira are early 20th century, the style is neo-Manueline and conjures up the glories of Portugal 500 years ago.
It was designed by Luigi Manini, also the architect of the hotel and palace of Buçaco, near Coimbra. The palace and its grounds look like sets for an opera. The luxuriant gardens, with their mysterious caves, wells, lakes, towers and statues are planned down to the last detail and are rich in allusions to the esoteric world and to alchemy.
A visit to Regaleira is a powerful and fascinating experience.
Guided tours by appointment only.