Perched on a hill on a quinta once owned by Dominican monks, the cottage is a tranquil base for exploring the Alentejo countryside, convenient for many delightful day-trip destinations (see "The Neighborhood"). Closer to home, relax by the pool, stroll in the 15-hectare olive grove, grill on the patio, or wander around the lovely World Heritage fortress town of Elvas, a few minutes away.
Our quinta is perched on a hilltop, with views over oranges and old olive trees to the mountains of Spain. At night, the stars are bright, and the lights of Olivenza, Spain, shine against the distant mountains. The music of sheep bells competes with the songs of birds (hoopoes, bee eaters, tawny and little owls, and nightingales, depending on the season) and the occasional crow of the neighbors' rooster. Our 15-hectare olive grove is a magical place to explore, and a valuable wildlife habitat.
The cottage is set a little back from the other buildings in the quinta's courtyard, making it very private. Its sheltered patio offers a view past the quinta's entrance arch toward the mountains of Spain. Windows at the back in the kitchen and living room look out into an olive grove where sheep graze.
At one side of the patio is the forno (bread oven; much like a tandoori oven or traditional pizza oven) for which the cottage is named, and which was once used by all the inhabitants of the quinta. (There is a smaller grill for you to use more conveniently!) The garden in front of the cottage contains rosemary and other herbs as well as roses, geraniums, a fig tree, and much more.
The cottage was remodeled in 2015, with entirely new wiring, roof, windows, tile, heating and air conditioning, and plumbing, but retains its original charm. Its thick stone walls and double-glazed windows—equipped with pull-down netting to keep out insects while letting in the cool night air—make it quiet, comfortable, and energy efficient.
The living room is furnished comfortably with a sofa and armchair and a small wood-burning stove (we provide wood). The eat-in kitchen is well equipped with refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, microwave, and everything needed for basic cooking and dining. The table in the kitchen can be extended to seat four.
The bedroom has a double bed, a chest of drawers, and a place to hang up clothes (with hangers). The sofa in the living room opens to a comfortable double mattress—however, the living room is the entrance room, and not very private, so the cottage is best suited to a couple with children, or good friends who don't need a lot of privacy.
Both kitchen and bathroom are decorated with hand-painted reproduction 17th- and 18th-century azulejos from Viuva Lamego in Lisbon.
Guests may explore Quinta Veloso's gardens, orange grove, and organically managed olive grove, which covers nearly 15 hectares, with thousands of trees and some spectacular views—a wonderful place for a picnic. Figs, oranges, lemons, limes, almonds, walnuts, grapes, pomegranates, loquats, and plums may be had for the picking, depending on the season, in the orange grove. The vegetable garden almost always has produce guests may use; of course the vegetables vary with the seasons, but there is no time of the year without some fresh produce.
After swimming in the pool, you might lounge in the pool house or the nora (a Moorish mule-driven waterwheel and well house), play boules in the grapevine- and rose-lined colonnade, or have a glass of wine next to a small ornamental pool in the laranjal (orange grove).
The swimming pool is 5 by 10 meters, with easy steps into the shallow end, and is quite deep at the far end. The pool house is a comfortable place to have a drink or read, with an outdoor propane heater to warm up cool mornings or evenings in the early spring or late fall. We supply beach towels in the pool house for guests. The pool and pool house are often sociable spaces, shared with us and our young son, and sometimes with our own guests or the WWOOF (Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms) volunteers who help us in some months, but if you'd like privacy, just let us know what times you'd like to have te pool to yourself.
The allee leading to the nora (Moorish well, with an impressive cistern and mule-driven water wheel) is where we like to play boules. We also have a croquet set.
The olival is a wonderful place to walk, run, have a picnic (we can supply a picnic blanket or folding chairs), sleep in the shade, or just wander around. There are views of Elvas and its forts and of Spain from the top, and cistus and lavender grow wild among the rocks. Our sheep lend a peaceful presence with their bells. When burning is permissible (fall through spring), we can arrange a bonfire cookout among the olive trees.
October is olive-harvesting season, and a busy time on the quinta, with both Portuguese workers and WWOOF volunteers helping out. Guests may observe the harvest or might even be able to join in. There is a bottle of our excellent early-harvest, single-harvest olive oil in the cottage for you to use. (Additional bottles are available for sale, if you like it and want to take some home.)
Interazione con gli ospiti
The cottage is very private, and guests may be completely undisturbed there, but there is shared space in the gardens and around the pool. The quinta is a working farm, so our regular helpers will be here most days, and at some times of the year, especially at olive harvest, we also host WWOOF (Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms) volunteers, who come from many countries to help us on the quinta. Many guests enjoy socializing with us or even joining us for cookouts, but if you prefer quiet and privacy, just let us know if you would like to be left alone, or if you'd like to have part of the gardens or the pool area to yourself at specific times. There is a lot of room!
We work at home and are usually available if needed. We enjoy meeting AirBnB guests from different countries and with different interests, and often can show guests around, offer a drink in the pool house, or play board games, boules, or croquet.
Altre cose da evidenziare
The Casa do Forno is completely renovated and up to date, but the quinta as a whole is a work in progress. It will appeal to nature and history lovers, and those who are interested in the process of bringing the quinta back to its former glory, more than those who want polished hotel grounds. The nora—our first renovation project—is of great historical interest, and we are now gradually restoring the complex irrigation system it feeds. The gardens—vegetables, roses, and a dry Mediterranean garden—are always evolving.
We try to be ecologically responsible, so we line-dry laundry and avoid harsh chemical cleaners whenever possible.
Absolutely no smoking in the cottage!
Important: though we welcome children and infants of any age, infants must be listed as children when calculating the number of guests, and they incur the extra guest fee. Since we provide a high chair, portable crib/playpen, and bedding for infants.
Pets are welcome on request, as long as they don't disturb our own animals (cats, a very quiet, timid dog, and sheep). Dogs should be leashed outside elsewhere, for the safety of our pets, and must not be allowed into the small planted area by the cottage or other flower beds. The olival is fenced, and a great place to walk a dog, but they need to be leashed when there are sheep grazing (the sheep are penned up at night, so usually early morning and late in the day is a good time to let dogs run--ask us).
You are welcome to use the pool at any time, but please keep noise reasonably low (music at an ordinary volume is fine) after 9 p.m. in consideration to the neighboring farm. Children must be accompanied by an adult at the pool or in the horta at all times. We supply pool towels for swimming.
Don't smoke inside the cottage. Don't smoke or light fires in the olival in the summer, because of the fire risk.
Check-in is normally 3:00 to 9:00, check-out by 12:00 p.m., but we can often be flexible--just ask.
Please list number of adults and children, including infants, accurately when booking, and don't bring guests you have not told us about.
Directions can be found under Location after booking, but let us know if you need more detail.