The History of Villa Sassetti
The history of this place began to get written by Victor Carlos Sassetti. Born in Sintra and eternally impassioned by its environment, he was the owner of Hotel Braganza, a famous Lisbon hotel that welcomed countless dignitaries and celebrities, and Hotel Victor, in Sintra, located on the slopes below the Moorish Castle.
In 1885, Victor Carlos Sassetti became the owner of some land on which he decided to build his summer house inspired on the castles of Lombardy and the fine gardens that would surround them. The work started in 1890 with the assistance of his friend, the architect and scenographer Luigi Manini.
The 1.2 hectares making up this property were imagined by these two friends as establishing a perfect symbiosis between the natural environment and the built space. The garden sought to obey a scenographic aesthetic right along the length of its twisting path, crossed by an artificial watercourse, expressing a profound and harmonious relationship between architecture and the landscape.
Following the death of Victor Sassetti, the property was leased to the Armenian millionaire Calouste Gulbenkian, who was an occasional resident from 1920 to 1955, the year of his death. Subsequently, the Villa gained a new owner, Isabel Armanda Luísa Real, who ordered the building of a Housekeeper’s Lodge and expanding the main building by adding the current eastern wing and sanitation installations. This was also the time when the Villa underwent a name change to become called Quinta da Amizade (Farm of Friendship).
In 1979, the property was sold to Isabel Maria Castro Santos and, in 1984, again exchanged hands with its acquisition by Sara Gabriel Teixeira Albergaria, who was returning to Portugal following diplomatic duties in Rome and who carried out some refurbishment work both on the Villa and the garden.
The Municipal Council of Sintra purchased the property in 2004 and, a few years later, Parques de Sintra bought Villa Sassetti and the adjoining property in 2011 within the objective of both preserving its heritage value and establishing a new footpath running from the Historical Centre to the National Palace of Pena/Moorish Castle as an alternative to the rampway of Pena. Within this scope, the company undertook interventions on the exterior of the main Villa Sassetti building, on the annexes and the Housekeeper’s Lodge. In parallel, the garden also underwent a thorough restoration process.